Tertiary and international COVID-19 bulletin
11 March 2022
Tertiary and international COVID-19 bulletin
COVID-19 Protection Framework settings
All of New Zealand is at Red (Phase 3).
Guidance for managing self-isolation in student accommodation
Following our 4 March bulletin on managing cases and household contacts within student accommodation at Phase 3, the Ministry of Health’s detailed accommodation guidance is now available on our website.
This includes further clarification on the definition of household contacts within tertiary accommodation and how cases and contacts should be managed at Phase 3.
You can access this guidance on our website.
Changes to isolation periods
Effective from tonight, Friday 11.59pm 11 March 2022, the isolation and quarantine requirements for cases and their household contacts has been reduced from 10 days to seven days.
This reduction in the isolation period will ensure we maintain a balance between controlling the outbreak effectively and minimising the impacts of our response measures.
From midnight tonight, cases are required to isolate for seven days.
A case’s Day 0 is from symptom onset or the day the test was taken, whichever came first. Cases must isolate for seven full days and are free to return to normal activities on what is effectively Day 8. If a case still has symptoms after seven days, they are advised to stay home until 24 hours after symptoms resolve.
Household contacts isolate for the same seven days as the case. Household contacts can go back to their normal activities on the same day as the first case in their household, provided all their (the household contact’s) test results have been negative. Household contacts should continue to self-monitor for symptoms and if symptoms develop, they should get tested.
Cases and household contacts can use the ‘When does my isolation start/end’ tool on the Unite against COVID-19 website to work out when they can leave isolation.
Cases and household contacts who are currently isolating can return to normal activities on Day 8 if that falls on or after 12 March 2022.
In Phase 3, cases and household contacts do not require an official release notification to leave isolation.
Further information can be found on the Unite against COVID-19 website.
Testing requirements for household contacts
Household contacts are required to take a self-administered rapid antigen test (RAT) on Day 3 and Day 7 of their isolation period.
If symptoms develop at any time during isolation, the usual advice remains in place to undertake an additional RAT.
- If the test is negative, and symptoms persist or worsen, test again 48 hours after.
- If symptoms resolve, there is no need for a further test, until the required Day 7 RAT. If this is negative, they can return to daily life on Day 8.
If a household contact has new symptoms on the day of release, the general public health advice applies.
- They should undertake an additional RAT and stay at home while unwell.
- If that test is negative, and symptoms persist or worsen, test again after 48 hours.
- If symptoms resolve, there is no need for a further test.
- If the test is positive, they must isolate as a case for seven days.
Recovered cases are not considered a household contact for 90 days
Evidence also shows that the risk of re-infection within the first three months after someone has had Omicron is low.
For this reason, recovered cases will no longer need to isolate again if they become a household contact within 90 days of having the virus. This has been extended from 28 days.
However, if a recovered case develops new symptoms at any stage after their release from isolation, they should seek a further RAT test, and if they test positive they must isolate.
The Ministry of Health advises that anyone who has had COVID-19 or is a ‘contact’ of someone who has COVID-19 avoid attending high-risk settings until ten days have passed since they were infected or exposed to the virus. For example, aged-care facilities, correctional facilities or hospitals (unless they are requiring care).
The general public health advice remains in place to undertake a RAT if symptomatic. If the RAT is negative, and symptoms persist/worsen, then test again 48 hours after the negative test. If symptoms resolve, there is no need for a further test.
Changes to SPOC hours of service
As close contact identification is not required at Phase 3 of the Omicron response, the volume of enquiries from the tertiary sector to NZQA and TEC single points of contact (SPOCs) has decreased significantly over recent weeks.
Given this, we are updating the SPOCs’ availability. From today, SPOCs can be reached between 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.
Enquiries should be made via email rather than over the phone. However, for urgent enquiries that may come up over the weekend, SPOCs can still be reached on the below phone numbers.
For private training establishments, email NZQA: SPOC@nzqa.govt.nz
For tertiary education institutions, email TEC: SPOC@tec.govt.nz
For urgent (or weekend) enquiries, please call the following number as relevant.
NZQA: 04 463 4393
TEC: 0800 222 410
Clarification: Vaccination requirements for secondary-tertiary and workplace-based learning arrangements
In general, tertiary education providers cannot deny a secondary school student access to their premises to undertake their learning, based on vaccination status.
However, we have had a number of questions about how this applies to work-based learning vaccination requirements.
The COVID-19 Protection Framework Order has been amended to clarify vaccination requirements for secondary-tertiary and workplace-based learning arrangements, with the amendment coming into force at 11.59 pm on Saturday 12 March 2022.
This amendment clarifies that where a secondary school student undertakes workplace-based learning as part of their course on site at the tertiary education provider, any workforce vaccination requirements (hairdressing, hospitality, and so on) take precedence. In these instances, the secondary school student must be vaccinated to participate in the onsite programme or the part of that programme that is work-based.
This is consistent with current public health advice for workplaces where vaccination is mandated. This vaccination requirement applies where secondary-tertiary programme courses are delivered on site at the tertiary education provider in a workplace covered by the Vaccinations Order (for example, health and ECE centres) or the CPF Order (for example, hospitality, gyms, hairdressers/salons and other close-proximity businesses).
We encourage providers to make alternative learning options available to support unvaccinated students where possible.
We are updating CPF guidance for secondary-tertiary and workplace-based learning arrangements on the Ministry of Education’s Youth Guarantee website.
In the meantime, you can find information about the CPF more generally on our website.
Be prepared for COVID-19
Whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, everyone should prepare for what they need to do if they get COVID-19.
The Unite against COVID-19 website has resources to help you
Travelling and COVID-19
While vaccination is highly effective, it is still possible to get COVID-19.
You may get it while you are away from home, even if you are following the rules. You should prepare for what you may need to do if this happens.
Email address for questions
All tertiary and international COVID-19 related queries can be emailed to us through our central mailbox COVID19.TertiaryandInternational@education.govt.nz.