Update 7 May 2020

Tēnā koutou katoa

After just over six weeks of what has been a very different and often challenging time, it was great to hear the Prime Minister today talking about how Alert Level 2 will open the country.  At the same time, she talked about the possibility of “progressing” and “phasing” down to Level 2.  Perhaps we might see something like a Level 2.5 initially.  At a full Level 2, however, Early Education Services will be open, so no matter what the Government decision next Monday (May 11), it makes sense that we put our minds firmly to re-opening, and with a probable  starting date of Monday, May 18. The Prime Minister made it clear today, that even though some form of Level 2 will be announced next week, educational institutions would not go back mid-week, but would re-open on the following Monday.  It was reassuring to hear the Prime Minister advise that in Level 2 Early Learning Services are “safe environments for children and staff and that additional public health control measures are in place to prevent the spread of disease and to support contact tracing”.

You may already be aware that we have guidance for re-opening on the website (https://www.playcentre.org.nz/covid-19/guidance/).  Please have a read if you haven’t already done so, particularly as the website today contains some additional information.

There is now a basic checklist from our National Property Manager, John Manning, about the processes you should go through to get your Centre up and running safely.   We are already looking ahead and gathering information and advice about how we will operate once sessions begin again to ensure we do so as safely as possible for our tamariki and Playcentre whānau. As always, I am in regular contact with the Ministry of Education and I will be passing on all relevant and helpful information. 

It’s also a good time to talk about First Aid Certificates, specifically an extension for expired First Aid Certificates.  If your First Aid Certificate expired on or after 1 Feb 2020, it will be recognised as still valid for the purpose of meeting licensing criteria for three months (until 24 July 2020). This has been approved by the Secretary for Education in recognition of the difficulty in accessing refresher training during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Playcentres do not need to contact the Ministry for approval to access this exemption, however they must attest in writing to the current first aid knowledge of these members and retain this documentation. 

This can be done by asking the member a few questions – you could use this website to find questions and appropriate answers: https://www.stjohn.org.nz/first-aid/first-aid-library/

There is a template available here that you can use to record the required information.

Ka kite anō au i a koutou.

Sean McKinley