Tertiary and international COVID-19 bulletin
21 December 2021
Tertiary and international COVID-19 bulletin
21 December 2021
Meri Kirihimete from all of us at the Ministry, TEC, NZQA and ENZ who have worked on the COVID-19 response over the last year.
We would like to thank you for your positive engagement, feedback and commitment to working with us to inform our policy, guidance and Health Orders.
We hope you all have a very restful and well-earned Christmas break.
COVID-19 Protection Framework settings
At 11:59pm on Thursday 30 December, the following areas which are currently at Red will move to Orange:
- Taupō and Rotorua Lakes Districts
- Kawerau, Whakatane, Ōpōtiki Districts
- Gisborne District
- Wairoa District
- Rangitikei, Whanganui and Ruapehu Districts.
The Northland area will remain at Red and the rest of the North Island and the whole of the South Island will remain at Orange.
Cabinet will review these settings on Monday 17 January.
Changes to the face covering requirement at Red
This week, the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Protection Framework) Order 2021 will be amended. Under the amendment, the face covering requirement will apply to people who are indoors at tertiary education premises while they are:
- on the parts of the premises that are open to the public
- attending formal teaching or learning activities.
Staff who are presenting (for example, to a class), and who maintain two-metre physical distancing from others when doing so, will be exempt from the face covering requirement.
Once this amendment is in force, we will update our COVID-19 Protection Framework guidance and Q&As to reflect this change.
Update on COVID-19 case and contact management
The Ministry of Health, with support from Ministry of Education, TEC and NZQA, is developing a COVID-19 public health toolkit and step-by-step guide for tertiary providers operating under the COVID-19 Protection Framework.
The toolkit will be released in the new year.
As we transition to a minimisation and protection approach to COVID-19, we can expect to see more cases in the community. The toolkit and guide will provide information on what tertiary providers should do when they have had a COVID-19 case on site.
Tertiary providers will also be able to seek support from education agencies on managing these processes: tertiary education institutions will be supported by the TEC; private training establishments will be supported by NZQA.
We will provide you with more details about the new process, as well as the toolkit and step by step guide early in the new year. Until then, over the holiday period, if a COVID-19 case is linked with a tertiary education or accommodation facility, the provider will be contacted by the Medical Officer of Health or their local public health authority.
Alternatively, if a tertiary provider becomes aware of a case associated with their education or accommodation facility and they haven’t received notification from health authorities, they should immediately contact the TEC (Sandra Ramsay or Deidre Marshall) or their local public health unit:
PTEs: Updating your contact information
In 2022, NZQA will be the single point of contact for PTEs to engage with where a student or staff member has COVID-19.
To help prepare for this, it is important NZQA has up to date contact information for PTEs, including an after-hours phone number. You can update these details through NZQA’s online service.
Visit NZQA's website for more information.
Staff vaccination requirements and secondary-tertiary programmes
We have had some queries about staff vaccination and secondary-tertiary programmes.
Staff involved in secondary-tertiary programmes must be vaccinated if they are on site at a school or school hostel. If they are involved in secondary-tertiary programmes on a tertiary site, they are also required to be vaccinated at the Red traffic light setting.
We understand some schools have requested that tertiary education providers share the vaccination status of staff who are not covered by the Vaccinations Order (for example, staff who teach on tertiary sites at Orange only), as part of their health and safety risk assessments.
How tertiary providers respond to these requests is at their own discretion, however they should seek the staff members’ consent before sharing their vaccination information and ensure that legal obligations are met, including under the Privacy Act.
See our Q&As on providers’ obligations when collecting and verifying vaccination information for more information.
Workplace vaccination assessment tool launched
The Government has launched a new vaccination assessment tool to help businesses make decisions on COVID-19 vaccine requirements for workers.
Providers can find more information about the tool and how they can use it on MBIE's website for businesses.
Help protect your community this summer
The Ministry of Health is currently seeking people to join the COVID-19 response this summer.
The elimination strategy and the use of alert levels have served New Zealand well. We’ve been recognised around the world for our response to managing COVID-19.
We’re now entering a new phase in our response as we move to manage COVID-19 in the community, and the Ministry is looking for people to join the COVID-19 response in a broad range of paid roles:
- non-clinical and support roles (for example, home care and community support, observer and liaison roles)
- non-contact roles (for example, administration and contact tracers).
Visit the 'hands up' page on the Ministry of Health website for more information and to register your interest.
Email address for queries
A central mailbox has been set-up for all tertiary and international queries to the Ministry of Education that are related to COVID-19:
We have introduced this email address to ensure there is a central point of contact that we can monitor. All future bulletins will be sent from this email address and we will continue to meet with the sector regularly.
Please note, this mailbox will not be managed from 23 December through to 10 January 2022.