COVID-19 update Monday 23 March - He Pānui Kōhungahunga - Early Learning Bulletin

Thank you to all of you who have shown considerable leadership in the last few weeks. This is an unprecedented event, and will continue to challenge us all.

Government announcement – moving to Alert Level 3 for 48 hours and then Level 4

The Prime Minister on 23 March, 2020 announced we are moving to Level 3 for the next 48 hours and then to Level 4 in the COVID-19 Alert Level structure for a further period of 4 weeks. 

COVID-19 Alert Level [PDF, 50KB](external link)

We are asking early learning services to remain open for the next two days, for children of essential workers, including the children of teachers. Please ensure you continue to support good hygiene practices with these children and also undertake physical distancing.

A list of essential support workers can be found here(external link)

All early learning services will close from midnight Wednesday 25th March 2020. 

Government funding will continue as normal.  It will not be cut or clawed back.

Funding paid on 2 March 2020 that was enrolment based may not reflect actual attendance through to 31 May 2020.

If actual numbers of children who attend is less than enrolment numbers, you will not be required to pay this back. If your service has higher attendance during this period you will claim the funding through the usual wash-up process. This also applies to early learning services on monthly funding.

We appreciate that this is an unprecedented situation, where possible we encourage any form of distance learning. 

To support this, today we are launching Learning from home and Ki te Ao Mārama, two new websites to support teachers, learners, parents and whānau so that learning for children and young people can continue.

The websites include resources for teachers, leaders, parents and whānau. Resources span the learning pathway from early learning through to senior secondary, and more resources will be added as they’re developed.

The resources are available through the following website links:

Learning from home(external link)
Ki te ao Mārama(external link)

The Ministry is developing resource kits for children who are identified as likely to require additional learning resources in their homes. We will work with early learning providers over the next weeks to discuss how these can be accessed and distributed.

More resources will be added as they’re developed. Hard copy packs are being prepared for learners and whānau who don’t have connectivity at home. 

We’ve also developed some guidance to help you and your staff to get ready, support you to be working from home, and maintain wellbeing.

School holidays brought forward

School holidays are being brought forward so that they are completed within the 4 week period. Holidays will now begin from Monday 30 March to Tuesday 14 April inclusive (a reminder that the Tuesday after Easter Monday is always a closed day for schools). 

At the end of the school holidays, schools will be open for distance learning but not physically open for staff to work at the schools.

Letter template for your community

You may wish to use this as a basis for a letter to your early learning community.
Kia ora koutou
With today’s announcement by Government, we are implementing with urgency our plan to support your child’s learning from home. We appreciate this is a sudden and significant change, and will be heavily disruptive to many people in our community.
For children of essential workers, we look forward to seeing your child here tomorrow morning at [add time (and location if relevant)]. You may wish to check if you are considered an essential worker [link here] however those roles include doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers and police. We continue to ask that children who are not well, stay home.
For all other children, we will be supporting their learning from your home in the following ways:

  • through online learning…
  • provision of learning resources…
  • include how parents and caregivers can contact the school if there are any issues for their child

If you need to have your child cared for by someone else you will need to identify that person or people as part of your self-isolated group. This will need to be done by midnight Wednesday and the group must remain the same for the whole four weeks.  The caregiver’s own group (eg, their partner and children), your child and your own group (eg, your parents and other children) become one group. This group needs to be limited to minimise any risk of spread and should be no more than 20 people.
Your child will be looking to you for guidance about this decision. Parents, caregivers, whanau and teachers will have a particularly important part to play in reassuring children at this time. If you haven’t already done so, you may wish to read the information put together by the Ministry of Education to support your conversations with your children – Looking after your wellbeing – Te Mahau.(external link)
As noted by the Prime Minister these restrictions are our best chance to slow the virus in New Zealand and to save lives. We all have a clear role here to slow the spread of COVID-19.
We will continue to communicate with you over the coming days. Thank you for your ongoing support of our school staff and school community.
Ngā mihi


Next steps

We will continue to provide you with updates over the coming days. As noted, our regional staff will be in touch with you soon to determine how we can best support you.

Please contact your regional office if you require specific support.

Local Ministry of Education offices(external link)

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