he pitopito kōrero

He Pitopito Kōrero
Update - 29 March 2022

29 March 2022
he pitopito kōrero

He Pitopito Kōrero

Update - 29 March 2022

Ahiahi mārie,

This week we have entered the latest phase of Aotearoa New Zealand’s response to COVID-19. Although the new Red is a more simplified version than what we knew last week, it’s a good time to remember that we are still in Red.

Although South Island numbers are continuing to climb, it is good to see the overall decline.

But with winter approaching, there is, however, potential for more pressure on the health system, not just from COVID-19, but from the flu and other diseases such as RSV and measles.

Please encourage your communities to get their boosters, to get flu vaccinations, and to make sure childhood immunisations such as MMR are up to date.

Kia maiea tō rā,

Changes to the COVID-19 Protection Framework

A reminder that although milder than Delta, Omicron is not a mild illness and we continue to see high daily case numbers. More than 800 people are currently in hospital with COVID-19.

As such, we remain at Red. All your existing layers of protection will need to stay in place.

The risk assessment guidance we have previously provided summarises the measures needed at each colour setting of the framework.

Risk assessment and planning – Te Mahau

You can use the guidance to determine whether, in your context, there are any other measures you may wish to use to mitigate risk for your community.

Guidance is expected this week from Employment New Zealand (MBIE) and Worksafe which will support you to review whether any roles in your school will require someone to be vaccinated. We’ll let you know as soon as this information is available.

What the key changes are

The key changes to the COVID-19 Protection Framework impacting schools are:

  • removal of My Vaccine Pass from the framework effective from 11.59pm Monday 4 April (see item below)
  • and from 11.59pm last Friday 25 March:
    • removal of any outdoor capacity limits at all colours of the framework
    • increased capacity limits when indoors at Red, moving from 100 to 200 (but still allowing for one-metre spacing) and no capacity limits indoors at Orange and Green
    • no requirement to display QR codes at any setting (but be ready to use them again in the future)
    • no need to have alternate check-in systems for COVID-19 beyond your usual visitor register processes
    • no mask requirements when outdoors (but masks remain a requirement indoors for staff and children/students in Years 4-13 when at Red)
    • additionally, masks are strongly encouraged to be worn at Orange.

The information on our website has been updated to reflect the changes to the framework for Red, Orange and Green. This is also summarised in one document for ease of reference.

COVID-19 Protection Framework for schools and kura – Te Mahau

Letter template to support attendance

We have drafted a letter template to support your communications with your community, which can be edited to meet your needs.

Template letter: Update to parents and caregivers – English [DOCX, 21 KB]

Template letter: Update to parents and caregivers – te reo Māori [DOCX, 21 KB]

Webinar: Updating your health and safety assessment

This week we are holding three webinars alongside NZSTA to help you to update your kura or school’s health and safety assessment.

The main purpose of this is to review whether any work in your school or kura requires someone to be vaccinated.

When are the webinars happening?

Webinars are happening on Thursday and Friday this week. Each webinar will be an hour long and will include a 40-minute presentation with additional time for questions.

Session one: 10-11am Thursday 31 March

Session two: 3.30-4.30pm Thursday 31 March

Session three: 12-1pm Friday 1 April

You can register for webinars by following the links:

Reviewing health and safety session one – Eventbrite

Reviewing health and safety session two – Eventbrite

Reviewing health and safety session three – Eventbrite

What will the webinars cover?

The webinars will cover the process for completing a health and safety assessment, questions that should be considered, resources available, and your Q&As.

There will also be opportunities in the webinar to ask questions about how this works in practice and what to do if you’ve determined whether a particular role needs to be done by vaccinated workers.

Please note, the sessions will not cover industrial relations issues and questions.

Further information

The webinar will also be recorded and made available on the NZSTA website.

NZEI Te Riu Roa and PPTA will also be present to help answer your health and safety questions. 

As noted above, further guidance from Employment New Zealand and WorkSafe is also expected this week to further support you when considering if work requires vaccination.

Public health advice on indoor activities

As noted in our bulletin on 1 March, the advice from public health is that activities held indoors – especially those involving physical exertion, singing, or playing wind instruments – remain a higher risk for spread of COVID-19.

Important public health mitigations that remain – School Bulletin 1 March

While the preference is to hold these activities outdoors, we do understand there will be times when they need to be held indoors.

When that is the case:

  • activities should be in well-ventilated spaces
  • there should be at least one metre of space per person (to determine a capacity limit for the room) or ensure the total number of attendees does not exceed 200 (whichever of these two options is smaller)
  • participants should be physically distanced by at least one metre where practicable, and at least two metres apart for singing and when using wind instruments.

Putting capacity limits in place will provide reasonable mitigations that will help reduce the risks of transmission and activities becoming super-spreader events.

We will further update the website content when the changes to remove the My Vaccine Pass from the framework and removal of the vaccine mandate for education workers have been made (which takes effect 11.59pm Monday 4 April).

Wearing masks when exercising

Students are not required to wear masks while participating in indoor sports (or other physically exerting activities).

Face masks for schools and kura at Red – Te Mahau

Participating in kapa haka in Red

Many of you have asked about curriculum-related kapa haka being held on school sites when at Red. We can confirm kapa haka activities can go ahead in Red.

We have updated our events and activities guidance on our website to include kapa haka.

Participating in kapa haka in Red – Te Mahau

A reminder that if you are off site, you will need to follow the requirements of the venue/provider in addition to implementing health measures.

Guidance regarding offsite providers still requiring My Vaccine Pass

We’re aware that some offsite providers have continued to ask for evidence of vaccination from students who are attending their premises as part of a school-organised team or group.

Some may also choose to continue to ask for vaccine passes after Monday 4 April for their premises.

You will know that changes to the Health Order that took effect from 11.59pm Saturday 12 March should prevent students being asked for their vaccination status.

However, some providers may not be aware that the changes apply to their premises or may not be aware how to best apply the required changes to their existing systems.

The following information may assist your conversations with the provider.

If you need any further support with this matter, please get in touch with your regional Te Mahau contact.

COVID-19 Public Health Response (Protection Framework) Order 2021 – NZ Legislation

Information for providers

  • If a provider has a My Vaccine Pass/vaccine mandate policy in place, they now need to treat all young people who are there as part of a school-organised team or group as vaccinated. They cannot require evidence of vaccination.
  • This works in the same way as treating those under 12 years and 3 months as vaccinated.
  • Your school is not permitted to share an individual’s vaccine status because it is private information. (We have seen an example where the provider requested the names of the unvaccinated students.)
  • If you need specific information to support your discussion, the COVID-19 Protection Framework Health Order notes:
    • a person in control of premises must not deny entry, on vaccination grounds, to a student participating in an extra-curricular or a curricular activity at the premises.
    • premises includes any – (a) commercial premises or private premises (whether indoors or outdoors); and (b) premises owned or managed by central or local government (whether indoors or outdoors); and (c) vehicle
    • a student participating in an extra-curricular or a curricular activity means a student who is enrolled in a registered school and is participating in an extra-curricular or curricular activity if –
      (a) the activity is organised, directed, or facilitated by the school; or
      (b) the student’s participation in the activity is organised, directed, authorised, or facilitated by the school.

Additional measures you have in place

In addition to this, you can assure the provider that from a risk management perspective:

  • secondary-aged students are a well-vaccinated group with over 92% of 12 to 17-year-olds having received two doses of the vaccine
  • all your staff and volunteers are fully vaccinated (or the majority are, following 4 April changes)
  • you have very good practices in place to minimise spread of COVID-19 including:
    • anyone feeling unwell will be asked to stay at home
    • all involved will monitor closely for symptoms
    • you will keep a physical distance from people you don’t know and from other groups
    • students, staff and volunteers are reminded regularly about having good hand hygiene and their cough and sneeze etiquette
    • there will be a supply of hand sanitiser for teams and groups to use
    • you will be able to adhere to provider/venue mask requirements.

Please note, providers with a vaccine policy are within their rights to ask that unvaccinated students there for one purpose do not use other facilities at the same venue for a different purpose than the one the school has organised (for example, an offsite provider can ask that an unvaccinated student playing in a school basketball competition does not then use the pool facilities afterwards).

Department of Conservation facilities

The Department of Conservation (DOC) has contacted us to confirm they have updated their advice on their web pages and booking system in relation to their COVID-19 vaccine policy for DOC visitor facilities.

Their advice makes it clear that their policy is for users (of huts, lodges, campsites, visitor centres etc.) to be vaccinated, but that this does not apply to school students taking part in a school-organised or facilitated activity.

School transport: Vaccine mandate removal

The removal of the mandatory vaccine requirement for the education workforce also affects drivers of Ministry-funded school transport services.

From Tuesday 5 April there is no specified level of vaccination required by the Government for drivers of Ministry-funded school transport services.

However, the other COVID-19 prevention measures are still in place, such as:

  • regular cleaning of vehicles
  • mandatory wearing of masks for all those aged eight and over (or who are in Years 4 and over) on school transport
  • ability for ākonga aged five and over to be vaccinated.

Update: Learning from shared experiences of COVID-19

Following on from our bulletin on 22 February, Steve Lindsey and Erika Ross have been identifying the leaders and influencers they will meet with to capture and share their stories and lessons learned during the pandemic.

Learning from shared experiences during the pandemic – School Bulletin 22 February

They will focus on the processes and reflections of leaders during the pandemic, including what influenced their decisions, major issues and how they addressed them, new opportunities or ways of working that emerged, and how they built up their agility and resilience during this time.

Their work will initially start in the Auckland region, with Steve and Erika contacting other regions after that. They’ll develop a series of short stories which will initially be shared through these bulletins.

If you’d like to be involved, or know someone you think Steve or Erika should approach, please email stevelindsey400@gmail.com  or erika.ross75@gmail.com.

New curriculum strategies launched

‘Hei Raukura Mō te Mokopuna’ and the ‘Literacy & Communication and Maths Strategy’ were launched on Friday by Associate Minister of Education Jan Tinetti.

New curriculum strategies released – Ministry of Education

Developed by Te Poutāhū | Curriculum Centre, these strategies pave the way for strengthening:

  • te reo matatini and pāngarau in and through te reo Māori with Hei Raukura Mō te Mokopuna
  • literacy and numeracy through the Literacy & Communication and Maths Strategy for English-medium settings.

The strategies will provide all tumuaki, teachers and kaiako with clear, evidence-informed guidance on effective literacy, communication and maths teaching and learning within the frameworks of our national curricula.

We will now work collaboratively with you to develop action plans for these strategies.

Kōpaki Ako: Rauemi for Māori-medium kaiako

We have just launched Kōpaki Ako, an online space where Māori-medium kaiako can access learning activities and resources to continue to support flexible delivery of learning programmes in and out of the classroom.

Kōpaki Ako – Kauwhata Reo

There are also links to support teaching in hybrid-learning environments.

The rauemi available in Kōpaki Ako targets learners in Years 1-3, 4-6, 7-8 and 9-10. They are designed flexibly to be used in the classroom and at home, with and without digital devices.

TESSOL further study awards

We are pleased to offer additional awards for further study in the Teaching English in Schools to Speakers of Other Languages (TESSOL) field.

TESSOL further study awards – Ministry of Education

These awards are targeted at teachers who:

  • have successfully done the TESSOL scholarship funded courses of a New Zealand TESSOL qualification, but who have not completed it, or
  • teachers who have completed a TESSOL qualification and wish to do further study.

Teachers in state and state-integrated schools and kura are invited to apply for an award to study at a graduate or postgraduate level.

Online applications for the awards are open until Sunday 22 May.

NCEA Change Programme: Quarterly update

2022 is another big year for the NCEA Change Programme. Around 400 schools and kura are taking part in the four pilots that we are conducting this school year.

If you’d like to read about our progress in delivering the seven main changes to strengthen NCEA and the resources that we are developing to help kaiako and school leaders prepare for the changes, you can read our newsletter.

NCEA Change Programme quarterly update – Mailchimp

For queries, please email ncea.review@education.govt.nz.

NCEA Education website: What do you think?

Let us know what you think of the NCEA Education website, the new home for NCEA.

NCEA Education teacher use survey – Ministry of Education

We’d like to hear from teachers and kaiako delivering NCEA subjects on how they are using the NCEA Education website. Your feedback will help us understand how effective the website is and identify areas for further improvement.

Feedback closes Friday 8 April.

For queries, email us at ncea.review@education.govt.nz.

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