MoE Update – 12 October 2021

Information supplied from Ministry of Education on 12 October 2021.  

COVID-19 update – 12 October 2021

Ngā mihi o te Rātū, Tuesday greetings,

I appreciate the feedback you have sent in response to yesterday’s decisions – in particular the largely positive response to the decision to mandate vaccinations for the education workforce.
It is reassuring to see our vaccination rates rise – we’re now closing in on our six millionth dose. 
However, I know that because of this many of you have been fielding questions from your staff and from parents and whānau. In today’s bulletin we are aiming to provide more clarity on the new requirements. 
A reminder about the opportunity for staff to ask Dr Michelle Dickinson questions about the science behind vaccinations – it may be a helpful tool in your ‘promoting public health messages’ playbook!
Noho ora mai rā, nā, look after yourselves.


In today’s bulletin:

Mandatory vaccination requirements  

The intention of mandatory vaccination is for adults who may come into contact with children to be vaccinated.

The Government decision on mandatory vaccination requirements is that from 1 January 2022 education services must, during opening hours, only allow those who are fully vaccinated to provide a service onsite or in a home, including:

•    volunteers
•    initial teacher education students on practicum
•    learning support specialists
•    education advisors
•    social workers or nurses

The requirements also apply to any adult or young person over the age of 12 who lives in a home where homebased education and care is delivered.

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Vaccination register must be kept  

Within two weeks of the health order being issued early learning services will be required to keep a record of each person’s vaccination status. We will advise when the health order is published.

For those early learning services in Auckland and other Alert Level 3 regions, there is a requirement to keep a record of each person’s testing status, including when they were last tested and confirmation that the result was negative.  

Record keeping

Early learning services should ensure that this is done in a secure and confidential manner in line with their usual obligations under the Privacy Act. Given the sensitivity of the information being collected, careful consideration will need to be given to ensuring unauthorised access to the information is not able to occur.

Early learning services may accept any proof which assures them that the staff member is fully vaccinated or has received a negative test result. This may be an email, 
immunisation card or SMS that the staff member has received from their vaccine or medical provider, the BookMyVaccine website or the My COVID Record website.    

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Mandatory testing for Alert Level 3 areas by 26 October  

Alert Level 3 areas
All staff in early learning services in Alert Level 3 areas will need to be tested for COVID-19 and return a negative test by 26 October. If your service has already been operating staff can continue to work while they are waiting for their results. If you haven’t been operating, then your staff will have to provide evidence of a negative test before they can return to working on site. These requirements are regardless of vaccination status.

Additional clarification for Auckland
We are aware that in Auckland some services are in the process of bringing in more staff and tamariki as a result of the easing of restrictions last week on who can attend.
Those changes mean that more families in Auckland can use early learning services (not just families where the adults need to work) as long as bubble sizes continue to be restricted to 10 tamariki. Early learning services in Auckland can add additional staff at any time, however they must undertake a test and return a negative result by 26 October in order to continue working.

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Mandatory ongoing testing at Alert Level 3  

Staff and workers in early learning services that are not fully vaccinated must undergo weekly COVID-19 testing. These people will also need to have their first vaccination by 15 November and then be fully vaccinated by 1 January 2022. Once a person is fully vaccinated, ongoing testing will no longer be required.

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Maximum bubble sizes still in place for all Alert Level 3 areas  

The Government has not yet given approval for schools and early learning services to open to all children and young people, without restrictions on maximum numbers of children in bubbles and minimum space requirements. Further information will be provided based on public health advice when this is available. At this time bubbles of 10 children are still a requirement in all Alert Level 3 areas.

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Pick-ups and drop-offs  

At Alert Level 3, parents and caregivers should wear face coverings when dropping off or collecting their children from early learning services. Where practical, parents and caregivers should remain outside the service as much as possible. Physical distancing between parents and caregivers should be maintained.
Further information about where face coverings are required to be worn is available here:
Wear a face covering | Unite against COVID-19 (
You will need to consider what drop-off and pick-up procedures will work best in your setting. You should take into account factors such as health and safety concerns in the environment, including traffic or other hazards outside, and the needs of children who require support settling into the service. It is important that all children are still signed in and out of the service to ensure accurate records are maintained.
We will provide further guidance for Alert Level 2 as it becomes available.

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Distance learning in Auckland, Tai Tokerau and Waikato  

We understand that COVID-19 Alert Level 3 health and safety conditions have reduced the capacity for face-to-face teaching and learning in many settings and that a significant number of tamariki remain at home.
We appreciate that this can be challenging for educators and we want to remind you of a few ways we can support you to ensure teaching and learning continues remotely.
Teaching and learning resources
If you need support identifying appropriate resources for your tamariki and their whānau, the Ministry already has lots of materials available to you now.
These include online teaching and learning resources (with guidance for parents and whānau) which can even be printed and sent to learners. See our Learning from Home and Ki te Ao Marama websites for more.

Live and on-demand educational television
Home Learning | Papa Kainga TV and Mauri Reo, Mauri Ora continue to broadcast daily learning content for a range of ages, as well making much of this available on-demand.

  • Home Learning | Papa Kāinga TV is on television weekdays between 9am–1pm. Duke+1 (Freeview channel 18). Those households who have Sky can also access Duke +1 on channel 504. For households who have internet connectivity they can access content through TVNZ On Demand. Schedules are published on Learning from Home.
  • Mauri Reo, Mauri Ora Kōanga 2021 screens on Te Reo channel every weekday from 9am to 12pm. Programmes are also available online on the Māori TV website and on the Māori+ app.

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Guidance on pay parity  

We are aware of some confusion on what counts as recognised service for pay parity purposes. To support you in your decisions about whether to opt in, below are some clarifications of these matters. Guidance on pay parity can be found in the ECE Funding Handbook.
Does non-contact time, annual leave, bereavement leave, and sick leave count within the 2,080 hours per year?
Yes, these should be counted within the 2,080 hours per year. From the Recognised Service section of Chapter 3-B-2 of the Funding Handbook:

  • Any service should be recognised in full when determining a teacher’s initial salary step. A full year of service is 2,080 hours of work. Hours of work relates to the total hours required for a teacher to properly fulfil the duties and responsibilities connected with their employment. This includes rostered hours, non-contact hours and any paid leave, excluding parental provisions.

Does employment before a teacher received their qualification count?

Some types of employment before a teacher are qualified do count as recognised service for determining a teacher’s initial salary step. For example, employment as an untrained teacher in licensed early childhood education centres is relevant in terms of determining a certificated teacher’s initial salary step.
From the Previous Relevant Service section of Chapter 3-B-2 of the Funding Handbook:
When determining a teacher’s initial salary step previous relevant paid work experience means professional employment using knowledge of the education service, and/or teaching skills including:

  • voluntary service abroad – providing service was in a teaching position while the teacher held a teaching certificate
  • teacher education lecturers and community education tutors – providing service in a teaching position while the teacher held a teaching certificate
  • kaiarahi i te reo
  • teacher aides / kaiawhina
  • public sector employment with education focus, e.g., Ministry of Education, Early Childhood Development or other crown education agencies
  • education officer in government and non-government organisations
  • special education
  • social worker employed by DSW or school board
  • professional officer of NZEI Te Riu Roa, New Zealand Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) and Talking Trouble Aotearoa New Zealand (TTANZ)
  • librarian
  • museum, art gallery, zoo education officers
  • untrained employees in teaching positions in licensed early childhood education centres including kindergartens and nga kōhanga reo
  • family day care coordinators in licensed home-based early childhood education services.

Any previous relevant work experience that has occurred within the past 10 years should be credited as half-service up to a maximum of two steps.
Any previous relevant work experience that has occurred more than 10 years ago should not be credited towards a teacher’s initial salary step.
Half-credit means that each hour worked in the relevant role should be counted as half an hour of work for salary purposes.
How many calendar years of service count?
This depends and can vary for each teacher. A full year of service is 2,080 hours of work, but many teachers work part-time so a full year of service may cross more than one calendar year.