MoE Update – 23 August 2021

Information supplied from Ministry of Education on 23 August 2021.  

COVID-19 Early Learning update

Message from the Secretary for Education

Ngā mihi o te pō 
As you’ll have seen this afternoon, Auckland will continue to stay in Alert Level 4 until 11.59pm on Tuesday 31 August and the rest of New Zealand until 11.59pm on Friday 27 August, with further decisions to be made on Friday and then Monday afternoon.

A special thanks for the leadership of the early learning services and schools directly affected by Delta cases. I know there are delays for testing and Health (whose workforce is also affected) is working to ramp up testing services. The sites they select for testing need to be very large areas, sufficient for significant numbers of cars and distancing. They tend toward setting up sites where it is possible to scale up too.  
There has been a significant increase in vaccination sites and you, all your staff and families (for children aged 12+) can take advantage of those from 1 September and for those aged 30 and over, from 25 August.
The health professionals predict that numbers of cases will start to reduce in the next few days and therefore the number of sites of interest. Along with you, I look forward to that.
Thanks for continuing to send us questions, this helps us to provide the information you need.

Ngā mihi maioha,

In today’s bulletin:

  • Childcare for workers in Alert Level 4 businesses and services
  • Play areas in early learning services
  • Access to food or essential items
  • Useful information
    • Information for migrant communities: Golden rules for Alert Level 4
    • Information from the Ministry of Social Development 
    • How to spot bad information
  • Distance learning at Alert Level 4

Childcare for workers in Alert Level 4 businesses and services

As you are aware the Government has contracted approved licensed home-based education and care providers across the country to provide childcare to workers in Alert Level 4 businesses and services. 
Childcare through this scheme is only available: 

  • during an Alert Level 4 lock-down period as announced by the New Zealand Government.  
  • for children under the care of Alert Level 4 business or service workers.  
  • where there are no other adults in the household able to undertake childcare. 
  • for children aged 0-13.  

The preference remains that Alert Level 4 workers make their own private arrangements where they are able to do so.  
Conditions of childcare delivery: 

  • Carers are only able to care for one household. 
  • Funding is not available where the carer normally lives at the same address as the worker in an Alert Level 4 business or service.  
  • Workers in Alert Level 4 businesses or services are not to be charged any fees for this service.  
  • All Covid-19 Public Health rules must be complied with. 

Educational facilities, including schools, kura, early childhood education businesses or services etc, and their teachers are not alert level 4 businesses and service in Schedule 2 of the COVID 19 Public Health Response (Alert Level Requirements) Order (No 9) 2021 (the Order), so are not eligible for the scheme. The exception being home-based services contracted by the Ministry to provide emergency childcare.

Please see our website for more information including frequently asked questions and answers about the scheme, its conditions and availability.

Childcare for Workers of Alert Level 4 Business or Services Scheme

Play areas in early learning services

We’ve had reports from different parts of the country that children and young people have been gathering at schools and using school play equipment. While this may be less likely to happen at Early Learning Services, it should be clear that at Alert Level 4 all school and early learning sites are closed, including outdoor play areas.

Access to food or essential items 

Everyone needs food and essential items (such as medicine) through all COVID-19 alert levels. We encourage you to let your communities know they don’t need to go without. 
Here’s a fact sheet with information about the many ways of getting food and other essential items to you:

  • food delivery
  • what to do if you can’t get food delivered
  • staying safe when getting food delivered
  • financial help to buy food
  • foodbanks.

Information about food provision and distribution for providers.

Useful information

Information for migrant communities: Golden rules for Alert Level 4 

The Ministry for Ethnic Communities | Te Tari Mātāwaka has just released some videos in different languages about the ‘Golden rules for Level 4’. Please feel free to share this link to the videos with your networks

Information from the Ministry of Social Development  

The Ministry of Social Development has asked us to pass on the assurance that during COVID-19 Alert Level 4, payments will continue for Early Childcare Education providers. They will continue to stay connected with you over the weeks ahead. 

Families can email: [email protected] if you have any questions, and providers contact their Provider Line on 0800 776 843 or email [email protected].

How to spot bad information
There is another very helpful article by Dr Siouxsie Wiles and Toby Morris in The Spinoff regarding misinformation and disinformation. 
Their red flags for how to spot bad information are particularly well-summarised. Bad information will: 

  • downplay COVID-19 and the pandemic 
  • focus on survival rate 
  • ignore long COVID 
  • emphasise individual freedom 
  • try to sell you something 
  • push simple cures/treatments 
  • make you feel fearful or angry. 

“Good information put out to help you make an informed choice won’t make you feel scared or angry. It’ll make you feel empowered.”

Distance learning at Alert Level 4

Early learning services across the country have been doing a great job at staying connected with children and their whānau. We know from past experience that some communities may struggle to access resources at home during COVID Alert 4 and many services are already reaching out to these whānau with online or other resources.  

The Ministry has a limited number of early learning resource kits initially available to Auckland services that our regional office team will contact.  Services that take delivery of these packs would also need to arrange distribution under COVID 4 contactless conditions to whānau. 

We will be commencing live education television broadcasting this week on both TVNZ and Māori TV. We will advise when you can expect the first shows to air in tomorrow’s Bulletin. 

Available resources

The Learning from Home website has print-friendly, online resources that services can use to create tailored learning packs for their ākonga. You can also direct parents and whānau to these resources online.

These resources are available on the supporting learning from home page on Learning from Home.

Home Learning TV can be accessed on demand here or via the TVNZ App on a device (mobile phone, smart tv or tablet).
Mauri Reo, Mauri Ora can be accessed on demand from Māori TV.