Update 12 November 2021

12 November 2021

Week 2 – Connecting with our village

Kia ora koutou,

It hardly seems like a week since I sent out my first message at the end of my first week as there has been so much going on. I am very grateful for the warm welcome, best wishes and feedback  I have received since I sent out that message. The overwhelming majority of feedback was positive and this was mixed with others who wanted to share their journeys and views with me. I have very much appreciated all feedback and see it as a sign of a healthy organisation that people feel they can share safely.

The vaccine deadline has been a major topic in the feedback that I have received and I appreciate how hard it is for many individuals and us as a national organisation at this time. With views and concerns ranging from those about the vaccine itself to how could we protect our tamariki without the vaccine, my overall sense is that there is a sadness across the organisation. A sadness that we are having to face a Government mandate that goes against our inclusive nature. A sadness that some of our people will be leaving as they make their own decisions. A sadness that something coming in from the outside has had such an impact on our organisation. Covid19 has had an impact globally that we are now feeling locally and the reality is that the old normal has gone and we now have some idea of the new normal but that it is still emerging on a day by day basis.

As I have been speaking to people I have been very clear that I don’t want to lose anyone from our organisation and it is my genuine hope and belief that the situation we are facing is temporary. I am confident that over a period of time there will be new and better ways to protect our tamariki than the current vaccine option alone. I don’t know what they will be but I know that some of the best medical brains in the world are working on it and solutions will come. What this says to me is that whilst there will be a period where some of our people will be physically excluded from our centres, we must maintain our connections with them. I have been so encouraged to hear stories of how centres will do this. It will be a joy to be able to welcome them back as soon as we can.

Next week will reveal the true impact of the Government mandate on both our staff and our families. We are still collecting the vaccine status data and if you have not yet sent it in, please do so. At this point the returns are very encouraging and the immediate impact of the Government’s mandate is not as great as it could have been on us.

This week has seen a whirlwind of activity with meetings, calls, emails and information coming in at astonishing levels. In the past 24 hours we have seen the news of 6 cases in Stratford following positive waste water tests and now positive tests from Taupo. The first farmer has now been diagnosed with Delta and so the Government message that Delta will not be contained in Auckland and the Waikato is proving to be true. We have been working hard with MoE to advocate on for Wh​ānau Tupu Ng​ātahi and ensuring they understand the impact on us. Whatever the weekend brings, my sincerest wish is for all our tamariki, wh​ānau and staff to remain safe.

In the midst of all of this, the stand out for me this week has been my visit to 4 of our local centres and one of our regional teams. On Wednesday and Thursday I was in Canterbury connecting with the grass roots of our organisation. Knowing it is Messy Play week, I followed the advice I was given and took changes of clothes! What I saw was Playcentre at work from muddy play in the sandpit, to painted hand prints, to shared kai. The opportunity to shut out all the issues swirling around and focus on our true purpose – families growing together – was brilliant. I had the opportunity to talk with parents, volunteers, staff and the tamariki themselves and the message came over loud and clear – Playcentre is amazing. I am very thankful to the Canterbury region and the centres I visited for such a warm welcome and the positive way in which they encouraged and uplifted me. I am looking forward to spending much more time out with our local centres as soon as I can and for that to be a regular part of how I spend my time.

There is no doubt that we have challenges ahead of us. I have known intellectually that we will get through. From my time out with our people this week, I now know it with every fibre of my being. After this week, the images I have at the front of my mind of seeing our tamariki and wh​ānau at play make that the reality.

We have added the following questions to the Frequently Asked Question Bank:

What evidence is acceptable to sight for visitors?

All visitors attending a licensed Playcentre session or infant programme will need to show their vaccination record to gain access. You are not required to record this information, only sight it for the purpose of access.

As per the Ministry of Education guidelines,  any proof showing that a person has had at least one of the vaccinations is acceptable, including a screen shot from their vaccination record at My Covid Record email, immunisation card, SMS from vaccine provider, or BookMyVaccine website. 

Are we able to drop off and collect our child without being vaccinated and what is the appropriate settle time?

You do not need to be vaccinated to drop off and collect your child from Playcentre if your centre allows drop offs. They would need to follow the general COVID-19 health precautions of wearing a mask, social distancing of 2 metres, sanitise hands and sneeze into your elbow. We have created two signs, one to drop off at the gate and one with a settling time of 5 mins. You are welcome to choose which one would suit your centre circumstances. Please note that drop-offs are not allowed for tamariki under 2 1/2 years of age.

We have created additional signage for you if your centre is doing drop offs (please see the Signage section below).

Do I need to know the vaccination status of those hiring the centre?

As per the Ministry of Education guidelines you do not need to know the participants’ vaccination status if they are hiring your centre outside of your licensed hours.This will be reviewed either at the end of term 4 or changes of guidance from the Ministry of Education due to the introduction of the traffic light system. We are currently updating the hire agreement which will include additional cleaning protocols. If you are hiring out your centre from next week you MUST contact your Regional Property Coordinator (contact details here) prior to the hire date.

The decision to hire out your centre is at each centre’s discretion and comfort level. The centre membership must make the decision as a whole around what situations and groups can hire out the centre. If you don’t feel comfortable hiring out or for an existing group or individual to carry on with a previous hire the centre has the ability to revoke the hire.

The exception to this is a Playcentre that is located on school grounds. Inline with the vaccine mandate and Ministry of Education guidelines if an ECE is located on school grounds then everyone would need to be vaccinated if the hire is while other children are attending school.

Can we hold social events outside of our licensed hours ie. Christmas functions, whānau days?

Playcentres, Playgroups, Space and Other situations will be required to undertake the Cleaning Protocol that will be released. This is the same as the Hire Covid 19 Cleaning Protocol. Because the Centre has control over that they can hold Christmas functions, whānau days etc but the cleaning protocol must be followed after these events. These groups must also follow any Fire Regulation Maximum numbers and Covid 19 Government released information regarding sizes of gatherings, social distancing, masks, sanitising and PPE.

What do we do if a person shows up at centre after the 15 November and says they haven’t had their first vaccination?

It is the responsibility of each individual to advise us of their vaccination status and not attend Playcentre if they do not comply.Playcentre Aotearoa are collecting and managing this information at a National Level. We have created guidance for centres if an unvaccinated person comes into a Playcentre with conversation guides and a flow chart if this escalates. This is available here.

Clarification on testing.

The Minister of Education was misquoted recently in a Radio NZ interview regarding weekly testing of staff.The testing requirements are only for Alert Level 3, where staff that are not fully vaccinated will need to be COVID-19 tested weekly. This does not apply to Playcentre as we are not open at Alert Level 3.

FAQs for Playcentre Education ākonga

I have chosen not to vaccinate but would like to finish my current module/ the certificate.  Am I able to continue?

Generally speaking, no.  The practical requirement of the certificate includes contributing to Playcentre sessions as a kaiako throughout the certificate.  Unvaccinated ākonga are unable to attend Playcentre from 16 Nov and would be unable to meet the practicum requirement as a result.  If you have already completed the practical and on-session mahi for the module in which you are currently enrolled, and are able to complete the assesment task without being at Playcentre after 15 Nov, you may still submit your assessment task(s) to complete your current module.  You will not be able to enrol in any new modules under the current mandate if you are not vaccinated.

Would I be able to continue study with another provider?

The Government mandate states that all students on placement in a licensed-ECE service must be vaccinated, and this includes teacher-led and homebased ECE in addition to Playcentre.  Most Level 4 ākonga complete their practicum through Playcentre, homebased or teacher-led ECE and the same requirements apply in those setting.  You would need to contact other providers directly to see if they offer other options.  Playcentre Education’s practicum is designed to be completed on Playcentre sessions.

If I change my mind and decide to get vaccinated in the future, am I able to continue?

Absolutely.  Once you meet the vaccination requirements, you are able to pick up from where you left off and carry on with the programme.

Do I need to provide proof of vaccination? How do I so?

Yes.  All ākonga who are continuing their practicum on Playcentre sessions will need to provide Playcentre with proof of vaccination or a medical exemption certificate.  Click here to access the questionnaire. 

Thank you for providing such constructive feedback through the COVID-19 feedback form. Each response is valuable and is being considered and discussed as we navigate this situation.

If you have a question or would like clarity on a specific point, please submit this through the COVID-19 feedback form available here:

Just a reminder regarding the questionnaire and further information is also available here on the website under the COVID-19 section, vaccine mandate.

Please feel free to pass the questionnaire on to any centre members or extended whānau that attend that may have missed it.

It is the responsibility of each individual to advise us of their vaccination status and not attend Playcentre if they do not comply.

Playcentre Aotearoa are collecting and managing this information at a National Level. Centres are not required to hold a register, or ask other members about their vaccination status. This allows you to focus on your tamariki and your whānau at your centre.

 

We have created the following new signage that you are welcome to use if your centre allows drop offs.

  • Drop off signage – with a settle time of 5 mins
  • Drop off signage – with drop off and pick up at the gate

We have created the following new infographics:

  • Guidance and support if an unvaccinated member is at Playcentre
  • General information about the government mandate and how it effects Playcentre
  • How to talk to your friends and whānau about the COVID-19 vaccine – conversation pointers
  • Your COVID-19 vaccination – Guidance on the vaccine and what you need to know
  • COVID-19 vaccine – Pregnancy & breastfeeding

We know those centres in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland) and parts of Waikato who are in Level 3, step 2 are very much looking forward to opening and reconnecting.

Currently, Playcentres cannot open at Level 3 in steps 1 and 2. We are working with the Ministry of Education to determine at what point within the new traffic light system that centres can open safely.

We will be providing further information as it comes to hand.

Keep yourself and others safe.

The risks of getting COVID-19 are higher in crowded and inadequately ventilated spaces where infected people spend long periods of time together in close proximity. Please continue to follow the general COVID-19 health precautions when you are outside of your home.