he pānui kōhungahunga

He Pānui Kōhungahunga
COVID-19 update - 19 November

19 November 2021
he pānui kōhungahunga

He Pānui Kōhungahunga
COVID-19 update - 19 November

19 November 2021

Ngā mihi o te Rāmere, 

It’s fair to say that over the last 18 months the education landscape has changed significantly. Since our first COVID-19 update in January 2020, we have worked under a strong alert level system which has provided a solid basis for a centrally driven response in uncertain times.

Under this system, there has been a lot of demand on the education sector, but you have shown remarkable resilience and have responded calmly and confidently to the unexpected.

The last few weeks have not been easy, particularly in regards to the Vaccination Order. In having the best interests of your tamariki at heart, I understand it’s been difficult to determine who you can ask for vaccination certification and who you can’t. Today’s bulletin has information on that, details below.

Kia pai tō rā whakatā,

Information about My Vaccine Pass

My Vaccine Pass is now available. My Vaccine Pass is an official record of your COVID-19 vaccination status for use in Aotearoa New Zealand. Anyone aged 12 and over who has had two COVID-19 vaccinations administered, or who has been given a medical exemption, can now request a My Vaccine Pass.

My Vaccine Pass will give people access to places that require proof of vaccination under the new COVID-19 Protection Framework. This includes events, hospitality, close contact businesses such as hairdressers.

Although you can request your Vaccine Pass now, use of the Pass is not needed until New Zealand moves to the COVID-19 Protection Framework. The Prime Minister is expected to announce a date for moving to the new framework on 29 November.

We will provide more information and guidance on the COVID-19 Protection Framework and what it means for early learning services, as soon as the details have been confirmed.

Prohibited from requiring proof of vaccination

The Government has agreed that access to certain places or services cannot be denied based on a person’s vaccination status.

The list of places and services includes the right to education.

Other places and services include life-preserving services, access to public transport, supermarkets, dairies, pharmacies, petrol stations and essential health and disability services.

All licensed early learning services will be prohibited from requiring proof of vaccination (either via My Vaccine Pass or other tools) as a condition of entry, use or access to education.

As the prohibition relates to ‘access to education’, parents who volunteer at an early learning service must provide proof of vaccination. This might be a pass, but other forms of evidence are also accepted. 

Other events and activities are excluded

Requiring proof of vaccination is not prohibited for some events and activities that occur on site at early learning services. For example, fundraising fairs, concerts or community events where participants extend beyond staff, parents, caregivers, and learners. Nor will it be prohibited for third-party users of early learning premises outside licensed hours.

The Health Order will be issued once the enabling legislation has been passed. We will provide further information after the Order is confirmed.


In general, playgroups are not covered by the COVID-19 vaccination mandate as they are not licensed early learning services

However, where a playgroup operates at or for an education service (such as a playgroup on a school site, or one run by a home-based childcare provider) then evidence of vaccination is required for those parents attending. 

My Vaccine Pass is one form of evidence that may be used to meet this requirement. 
We expect there to be new settings for playgroups under the COVID-19 Protection Framework.

We will provide more information when the details of the COVID-19 Protection Framework have been confirmed. 

November 2021 advance funding will not be clawed back in March 2022

On 1 November, the Ministry paid advance funding to eligible early learning services at 90% (instead of the usual 75%). Kindergartens were continued to be paid 100% advance funding.

Services who experience a decrease in funded child hours during November to February, which will result in a negative wash-up, will be reimbursed on 21 March 2022.  (Note that any negative wash-up generated for February will be reimbursed in July).

For Kindergartens, any negative wash-up reimbursement for November to February will be calculated at 90%, this is consistent with the March negative wash-up calculation. 

Services are only eligible for the ‘no negative wash-up’ guarantee if they remain licensed and eligible for funding. If the service makes a decision to close in December, they will have to return the advance funding that has already been provided for January and February 2022. 

On Monday, 22 November 749 services will receive an additional payment totalling $4 million due to “no negative wash-up” incurred during the July to September period.

As was previously communicated via the Early Learning Bulletin, negative wash-up for October will be reimbursed on 21 March 2022.

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