10 November 2021
As per Mondays announcement:
Further information is available here.
Whilst this vaccine mandate has been imposed upon Playcentre, and there are differing views out there, we can choose to focus on the things that bring us together and unite us. At Playcentre the focus is on our tamariki, our whānau, our extended village, and our community. The vaccine mandate hasn’t changed this. These debates will have at their heart, the same thing as the mandate; a desire to keep our children safe. All of us at Playcentre can agree on that.
We have seen some wonderful suggestions about inclusion within centres during this trying time.
This is an evolving situation and potentially temporary. No-one knows what the next few weeks or months have ahead of us. If you feel unable to attend at this time, we respect your decision. You are a loved and treasured member of the Playcentre community and will be welcomed back into the Playcentre whānau in the future. Playcentre is our village, our whānau whānui, let us manaaki each other.
As you all know, the Government vaccine mandate is being imposed from 15 November 2021 for Early Childhood Education providers for staff and volunteers. We have been engaging with the Ministry of Education and seeking legal advice to provide clarity on how this applies in the Playcentre Aotearoa context. Thank you for your patience. We know that this is a very challenging time for many Playcentre members, and indeed all New Zealanders.
We have added the following questions to the Frequently Asked Question Bank:
Are Playcentre Playgroups included in the vaccine mandate?
Yes. Playcentre Playgroups are included in the vaccine mandate as they are under the Playcentre Aotearoa umbrella. This means that all Playcentre Playgroup adults are required to have received their first COVID-19 vaccination by 15 November 2021 and be fully vaccinated by 1 January 2022.
Are non-vaccinated visitors allowed onsite?
No. 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. We recommend suggesting to those inquiring about visiting that they book in prior to visiting.
How do we monitor and enforce the vaccine mandate at centre level from the 15 November 2021?
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. The Ministry of Education are taking legal advice on the requirement for parents to disclose their vaccination status at enrolment.
Additional support for presidents
The Professional Learning and Development team and Regional teams are collaborating to create workshops and/or resources to support those in the President / Coordinator role during this time. More information will be coming out shortly.
Vaccine mandate exemptions – change in process
The Covid-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Order 2021 has been amended to clarify the requirements relating to medical exemptions. All exemptions for the education sector need to be approved by the Director-General of Health.
An exemption can only be applied for by a medical doctor or nurse practitioner. The doctor or nurse practitioner needs to assess if the person meets clinical criteria that have been specified for an exemption by the Director-General of Health. If the doctor or nurse practitioner considers that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the person meets the specified criteria for a medical exemption, they can complete a request for an exemption on behalf of the employee and submit this to the Ministry of Health for consideration.
Exemptions may be issued for a maximum of six months. More information on the exemption process is available from here from the Ministry of Health.
A person in the process of applying for an exemption must not enter any Playcentre (as they are unvaccinated). If an exemption is granted, then Playcentre will work with that individual to determine what duties they can safely undertake.
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:
Thank you to everyone who has already provided their vaccine information. We have been overwhelmed by the response and your enthusiasm to return to your centre safely next week. Please feel free to pass the questionnaire on to any centre members or extended whānau that attend that may have missed it. The questionnaire and further information is also available here on the website under the COVID-19 section, vaccine mandate.
Under the Covid-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Order 2021 (the Order) Playcentre Aotearoa are required to maintain an up-to-date register. This register must contain the Covid-19 vaccination status of all staff, volunteers or unpaid workers, parents and infant programme participants who are likely to come into contact with young tamariki. The Government requires you to have received your first COVID-19 vaccination by 15 November 2021 and to be fully vaccinated by 1 January 2022 in order for you to be allowed to work or volunteer onsite.
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.
Here are two new signage templates relating to the vaccine mandate. These are designed to be placed on gates or in entranceways. There is a general one for vaccine mandate information and one for visitor requirements. They are available in A2, A3 and A4 sizes. The visitor requirements A4 sign is editable so that you can add in your phone number and email address.
We are in the process of creating further infographics and social media posts as well. These will be available over the next few days.
For those in Tāmaki Makaurau and parts of Waikato who are in Level 3, step 2, Playcentres will still be closed but to maintain your Playcentre community and connection you could;
Please keep safe and follow current COVID guidelines.
We will be providing further guidance setting out when everyone can meet back up in Playcentres again.
It has been heartwarming to see all of the images of those participating in Playcentre Messy Play week both at centre and at home. The smiles, curiosity and wonder on the faces of the tamariki. As Nathan Wallis says, through messy play, “children get to be little scientists, encountering problems and working out solutions, which is the foundation of creativity and innovation.”
There truly is magic in messy play.