He Pitopito Kōrero
COVID-19 update - 2 December 2021
He Pitopito Kōrero
Kia ora koutou,
As we enter the final month of 2021 and a new phase of living in a pandemic, I’m aware that it has felt like both a very short and a very long year. Thank you for your leadership and commitment to keeping our tamariki and rangatahi safe.
Adapting to all of the changes associated with COVID-19 is no small feat and this is a time to remember to be kind (especially to yourselves). Find information on accessing EAP services below if you need it – centrally funded wellbeing support services will continue to be available to you and your staff next year.
As indicated yesterday, today’s bulletin clarifies holding events and gatherings and also whether you should require courier drivers and postal workers to be vaccinated. You’re also invited to have your say on proposed changed to enrolling international fee-paying students under Year 9.
Update: Information about events, activities and gatherings
There have been requests for clearer and more definitive advice about events, activities and gatherings. This information will support you when planning events and activities to be held in the remainder of 2021.
A reminder of our previous advice:
- at Alert Level 3 there should not be any events, activities or gatherings held on site beyond those related to curriculum requirements
- numbers involved in any curriculum-related activity should be kept to a minimum
- physical activities, including singing and dancing, should only be held outside
- no non-essential visitors on site at Alert Level 3
- while there is discretion in what you may do at Alert Level 2 (subject to meeting public health requirements), we encourage you to take a precautionary approach when deciding whether to host a gathering or large event. Careful planning will need to be undertaken.
When planning any activity whether under the alert level requirements or under the new COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic lights system), we encourage you consider how you will keep risk of spread to a minimum. For example, you might consider having different points for entry and exit, increased ventilation and requiring face coverings.
There is no physical distancing requirement in the Public Health Response (Alert Level Requirements) Order for those people who are normally on a school site to receive or provide education services. This allows curriculum-related activities to go ahead on site (with a range of other health measures in place).
However, please be aware that the exemption from physical distancing requirements when onsite does not extend to inter-school activities.
Curriculum-related events and activities should continue using alert level guidelines until the end of Term 4 2021 and from 2022 the traffic light setting guidance will apply.
Some examples of school-based curriculum-related events and activities include:
- physical education classes (including swimming)
- parent-teacher meetings
- school plays or performances during class time
- cultural activities during class time
- pōwhiri ceremonies (for example, start of year/new student or staff welcomes)
- music during class time
- inter-school events during class time (such as inter-school sport events)
- science fairs.
A reminder that as soon as you bring others onsite (who are not receiving or providing education services) for curriculum-related events, including parents and caregivers, you will need to follow the relevant rules which apply to all events and activities in your region for your traffic light setting.
Education outside the classroom (EOTC)
Education outside the classroom (EOTC) activities, including field trips, camps, library or museum visits, are curriculum-related and can operate using the alert level guidelines until the end of Term 4 2021. From 2022 the traffic light setting guidance will apply.
If you are offsite you will need to determine the requirements of any providers or venues in advance. (For example, establish whether EOTC providers may require a vaccination pass for those aged 12 and three months or older.)
Any non-curriculum events and activities will be subject to the general event and gathering requirements under the traffic light framework.
Some examples of events and activities that are not curriculum-related include:
- prizegiving events involving the wider community (parents and whānau)
- school balls and leavers’ dinners
- weekend sports
- community use of swimming pools or other facilities
- out-of-hours music and art, and sporting and cultural activities held out of school hours
- school fairs and fundraising events
- PTA meeting
- religious instruction during school hours (state schools only).
Generally, events and activities are not curriculum-related if they occur outside of class time – particularly where attendance is optional.
Workforce wellbeing: EAP services extended
Centrally funded wellbeing support services will continue to be available to the education workforce next year. All teachers, regular relievers and support staff across kura and state and state-integrated schools are eligible to access these services.
Confidential one-on-one counselling sessions are available. These services are available face-to-face (subject to CPF settings), online or on the phone.
There will be no charge for these services. They are not intended to replace existing services you already offer staff, but rather to supplement any existing local wellbeing and counselling services for a specific period of time.
You’ll find further information about these EAP services on the our website. Alternatively, if you any questions call 0800 327 669 or visit the EAP website.
My Vaccine Pass and students who have just turned 12
You may request to see a student’s My Vaccine Pass if you are maintaining a student vaccination register or planning an education outside the classroom (EOTC) event. (Noting that students are not required to provide evidence of their vaccination status.)
However, a reminder that students under the age of 12 are not eligible for vaccination.
As such, from this Friday 3 December My Vaccine Pass cannot be required for these students for any offsite activities. This is also the case for any students aged up to 12 years and three months at the time of the event or activity.
This is because anyone who has just turned 12 will need to have the opportunity to get both vaccine doses before they need to prove they are eligible for entry to an event, business or service.
Required vaccinations for courier drivers and postal workers
We’d like to clarify that anyone coming on site to pick up or drop off parcels or mail is unlikely to be included in the vaccine mandate that applies to schools.
This is because courier drivers and postal workers are not on your school site to work for you (they are employed by NZ Post or another company) and they are very unlikely to be within two metres of (the same) children or students for 15 minutes or more.
If you believe some couriers or postal workers may be onsite for a period longer than 15 minutes and will have close contact with the same children and students for 15 minutes or more, we encourage you to discuss this with the company involved.
You may wish to clarify that in those instances they will need to be vaccinated (first dose now; second dose no later than 1 January 2022).
In addition to this, NZ Post have confirmed they are moving quickly toward to having all their workforce fully vaccinated. They have also set the expectation that all staff should be wearing face coverings when on your school site.
Have your say: Enrolling international fee-paying students under Year 9
Consultation on proposed changes to enrolling international fee-paying students under Year 9 is now open.
Consultation closes on Friday 11 March 2022.
Feedback from this consultation will inform advice and options to the Minister of Education, who signaled the intention to undertake this review in his speech at the International Education Forum in July 2021.
School Investment Package extension
Because market constraints due to COVID-19 and subsequent alert level restrictions have impacted on project delivery and completion timeframes, the School Investment Package (SIP) has been extended until end June 2022.
If you have identified a project but have yet to submit the opening documents to us, please do so no later than Monday 31 January 2022. This timeframe is to ensure outstanding projects can be in delivery by end June 2022.
If you haven’t identified a project, please contact your property advisor as soon as possible and work with them to identify a project. January 31 2022 is your final opportunity to spend your allocated funding.
If your project is in delivery, continue to work with your project manager to meet the end June delivery time frame.
Pay equity update for school administrators and kaiārahi i te reo
The investigation phase of the school administrator and kaiārahi i te reo pay equity claims are now complete. Together with NZEI Te Riu Roa, we are analysing the evidence gathered to draw our conclusions.
The investigation phase consisted of several activities to build a body of evidence. This included claimant and comparator interviews, analysis of remuneration and terms and conditions from collective agreements, and the use of a factor scoring process using a gender-neutral work assessment tool.
We will start negotiations with NZEI Te Riu Roa shortly and final reports and conclusions will be released upon any proposed settlement.