|Early Learning Bulletin 28 February 2021|
Message from the Secretary for Education
Kia ora koutou
The Prime Minister last night announced that from 6am this morning Auckland would return to Alert Level 3 for a period of seven days, and the rest of New Zealand would go to Alert Level 2 for the same period.
We are rerunning our key guidance for Alert Level 3 and Alert Level 2 in this Bulletin and our Auckland staff are ready to support you in any way they can. A reminder for Auckland services that you need to be physically open to receive children whose parents have to work and need to send their children to early learning. We know this is a very small number overall but it’s very important that we support those parents that are unable to work from home.
In today’s bulletin:
Information for services at Alert Level 3
Information for services at Alert Level 2
Early learning services at Alert Level 3 – Auckland Region
Alert Level 3 applies from 6am Sunday February 28:
Funding arrangements for early learning services at Alert Level 3 in the Auckland region
Reduced child attendance numbers
Services do not need to complete an EC12 form for children but will need to follow the process outlined in your Student Management System (SMS) to apply this exemption.
If it is not possible for you to remain open (e.g. you are not able to meet public health measures or there are no children attending) then you should apply the Emergency Closure (EC) code in your Student Management System. You do not need to apply to the Ministry to access this funding. Please use the EC code for the days the service would normally have been open.
If you have any questions or concerns please contact us at [email protected] for further advice or support.
Both the wage subsidy and resurgence support package are now available to support services nationwide that experience a reduction in income. You can find out more information about the financial support available to businesses on the COVID-19 website.
Supporting staff at Alert Level 3
When planning and arranging staff you must make reasonable efforts to ensure that only those who are necessary to support the number of children that you have at your service, are on site. You should work with your staff on how you will manage children’s learning for those who are learning at home.
When planning for staffing, you should also consider staff who usually work at more than one service. During Alert Level 3 staff may only work in one service and only one bubble. You could consider assigning all the hours they would normally be employed for, in that one bubble or a mix of onsite or remote delivery of learning.
Throughout Alert Level 3 and 2, staff continue to have access to their usual employment agreement entitlements, including the child contact/non-contact provisions of those agreements.
You must follow Ministry of Education and public health guidance to operate in a way that minimises the risk of COVID-19 transmission and ensures a safe environment for your staff and children.
Where the usual work that a staff member performs is not available, consider providing them with alternate duties as you adjust to different alert levels. Consider paying day relief or casual staff who have been booked for work but are no longer required during the Alert Level 3 restrictions.
Reasons some staff may need to remain at home
Employees may choose to stay at home if they, or someone they live with, meets the definition of a vulnerable person, including those with underlying medical conditions, especially if not well-controlled, and the elderly.
Where someone meets the definition of a vulnerable person you may agree they can work on site if they choose to, and you both agree they can do so safely.
Staff who are at-risk and are staying away from their centre might be prioritised to support learners from home. You may request a medical certificate for confirmation of vulnerability to assist you in providing appropriate health and safety measures for them.
You will need to initiate discussions with employees who may not be able to return to work, and ensure working from home or leave arrangements if required, are in place for these staff members during Alert Level 3.
You may have staff who cannot get to your service because they are unable to enter or exit the Alert Level 3 zone. Consider asking these staff to work from home wherever practicable.
You should talk to your staff who care for children who are younger than 14 years old. Staff may require flexibility of duties, or start and finish times, due to the staggered timing of school days and limitations of before and after school care. Their children should remain at home if they have a parent or caregiver available to look after them at home, and they have access to distance learning.
Contactless pick-ups of resources in Alert Level 3
You can arrange for parents and caregivers to pick up learning resources from your service in order to support distance learning. This must be a contactless system.
Please focus your plans for this on: