COVID-19 Update - 17 February 2022

COVID-19 Update – 17 February 2022

COVID-19 Update 

17 February 2022

Kia ora koutou Playcentre whānau, 

There has been growth in the number of cases of COVID-19 across Aotearoa.

In response the Government announced that New Zealand will move to Phase 2 of our Omicron response at 11.59pm Tuesday 15 February.

Getting a booster remains the most effective weapon against Omicron, along with all other public health settings. The main change in the setting under Omicron Phase 2 is the testing and isolation regime. Find more information about Phase 2 below.

 Nāku, nā,

David Moger – Chief Executive

Managing COVID-19 cases in your centre

A new section “Managing COVID-19 cases in your centre” has been added to the Frequently Asked Questions page on the Playcentre website.

Questions answered in this section include:

  • What do centres need to do if they have a positive case at their centre?
  • Does our centre need to close if a case has been identified at our centre?
  • What are centres required to do for contact tracing?
  • What cleaning process do centres need to undertake after a positive case of COVID-19 has been in the building?
  • When can centre members return to Playcentre after isolation?

What to do if our Centre is contacted by the media?

If you are approached by the media, please ask them to email their questions through to Playcentre’s Communications Manager ([email protected]).  Playcentre Aotearoa is managing all media enquiries on behalf of Centres. 

Omicron in the community: Phase 2 and what this means to you

In Phase 2, cases of Omicron have spread in the community, and we need to minimise and slow further spread and assist our vulnerable communities.
This means changes for:

  • Testing
  • Case investigation and contact tracing
  • Isolation and quarantine
  • Health and social support – care in the community.

Find details about these changes on the Unite Against COVID-19 website.
Things you can do to protect yourself through all phases

  • Get your COVID-19 booster shot.
  • Continue to mask, scan and pass wherever you go.
  • Maintain good hygiene and physical distancing.
  • Stay home if unwell.

COVID-19 booster vaccination requirements

The mandatory vaccination requirements for people working/volunteering in early learning services have been updated to require a COVID-19 booster dose.

To continue to meet the booster dose requirements as set out in the revised Public Health Order: 

  • All paid employees and unpaid volunteers (including parents on session or attending programmes – Space/Babies Can Play) at Playcentre need to have received two COVID-19 vaccinations as well as a booster dose within 183 days of their second vaccination
  • If 183 days have already passed since the person received their second vaccination, they are required to receive their booster dose by 1 March 2022
  • Any person who does not meet these requirements will not be able to continue working on site.

Everyone aged 18 and over who has received two initial COVID-19 vaccinations is able to receive a vaccine booster dose three months after receiving their second vaccination.

Booster vaccinations can be booked through Book my Vaccine.

Providing evidence of your vaccination status

For parents/caregivers to be allowed to work as voluntary staff members while on session with children at Playcentre you will need to provide us with evidence of having received your booster dose within 183 days of having had your second dose of the vaccination.

As soon as you have had your booster dose of the vaccine, please send us your evidence and we will update your record on our register.

If you have not done this by the times specified in the order, we are required to record you as unvaccinated.  As such you will be in breach of the Government Order if you attend Playcentre when children may be present.

If you are unable to meet this requirement, please notify your Centre Advisor or Regional Support Lead. 

Find out what information is required and who to contact.

Support for cost of relief teachers

The Government has agreed to meet some of the costs of relief teachers where that relief teacher has been employed to cover the paid notice periods directly related to staff members not meeting the vaccination mandate.

This funding is available for Playcentres.  For example, where a session co-ordinator has had to be replaced because of the mandated vaccination requirements for Playcentre parents.

Applications for this funding will be managed by your Playcentre Regional Office. No action is required by Centres.

Close Contact Exemption Scheme

 Last week, the Government announced the Close Contact Exemption Scheme to keep critical services running when we enter Omicron Phase 2.

The scheme enables people who are close contacts of a positive COVID-19 case to go to work if what they do is critical for our supply chains to keep operating. People accessing the scheme must have no symptoms and return a daily negative rapid antigen test.

Generally, we are not anticipating Playcentres will need to access the scheme for staff.