he pānui kōhungahunga

He Pānui Kōhungahunga
Update – 7 April 2022

07 April 2022
he pānui kōhungahunga

He Pānui Kōhungahunga

Update – 7 April 2022

Tēnā koutou katoa,

As the Omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to spread in our community, we need to provide layers of protection to slow the virus down.

Measures such as good hygiene, keeping occupied spaces well ventilated and reducing the mixing of staff and ākonga are effective. Safety continues to be the main priority.

In this issue, you can find information for certified playgroups about the COVID-19 Protection Framework and how to apply it in playgroup settings.

We can also confirm a funded closure day is now available for early learning services to take before 31 May for health and safety and related planning.

The current EC12 exemption for all services has also been extended until that same date.

There is more detail about these below.

Ngā mihi nui,

Funded closure day

We are pleased to advise that a funded closure day will be available to all early learning services between now and Tuesday 31 May.

This is to provide you with an opportunity to address any concerns amongst your early learning community about the impact of changes to the traffic light framework or vaccine mandates.

It’s up to you if you wish to use this funded closure day or not. If you do, then you can choose whatever day suits you best, as long as it’s before 31 May. You don’t need to seek our approval prior to using it, just use the emergency closure code in your student management system.

And you can use it in whatever way suits your early learning community best. We recognise that circumstances vary between services, and you know your community, and their challenges and needs.

Please emphasise the importance of vaccination amongst those who are eligible, outline the public health protection measures that remain in place and reassure staff and whānau.

Extension of exemption from absence funding

We have extended the current EC12 exemption for all services to Tuesday 31 May.

This means the exemption remains active even if your region moves from the Red setting to the Orange setting of the COVID-19 Protection Framework during this time.

This has been implemented to give certainty for all services, as experience has shown there may be a slow return of children following a move from settings that allow more children to attend.

This means funding continues for permanently enrolled children who are continuously absent, and the requirements of the frequent absence rule are suspended. You must not claim funding for children who have left your service.

Services do not need to complete the EC12 form but you should follow the process outlined in your SMS to ensure the exemption is applied for all enrolled children who are not attending.

From Wednesday 1 June, if a permanently enrolled child is absent under the Orange setting, an EC13 form can be completed by the child’s parent or guardian in the place of a medical practitioner if the reason is COVID-19 related.

Funding settings under the new traffic light system – Te Mahau

Guidance for certified playgroups

From Tuesday 5 April there is no longer a requirement for certified playgroups to operate using My Vaccine Pass. However, playgroups can choose to continue using the system if they feel it is best for their playgroup community.

Information for certified playgroups [PDF, 65 KB]

As a close-proximity service, adults attending playgroup with their children are required to wear medical grade masks at the Red and Orange settings as far as reasonably practicable. Playgroups will also need to continue meeting any event or gathering requirements under these settings.

Playgroups operating on sites that were under the vaccine mandate (for example, on a school site), no longer need to ensure all adults are vaccinated or keep a vaccine register.

If your certified playgroup is a PCBU you should update your COVID-19 safety plan in to meet your obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

Risk assessment and planning for COVID-19

We have updated the risk assessment and planning for COVID-19 template for early childhood services following the removal of the vaccine mandate for the education workforce.

Risk assessment and planning for COVID-19 template – Te Mahau

Ventilation guidance

Guidance on how best to ventilate your service, including advice for colder weather, is available on the Te Mahau website.

Ventilation guidance for early learning services – Te Mahau

Education Sector Logon: Replacing delegated authoriser form

We are replacing the delegated authoriser Education Sector Logon form to make access to our applications more streamlined. Users can now also provide their own access to applications through their online delegated authoriser.

The following forms have been loaded on the site:

  • ESL 100 Online Delegated Authoriser form (which will be replacing all delegated authoriser forms)
  • ESL 110 Early Childhood Education (ECE) user access form which will be replacing the ESL 38 form.

Applications and Online Systems – Ministry of Education