Update 7 September 2021

7 September 2021

As you are no doubt already aware, Playcentres and other early learning services outside of Auckland can open from tomorrow, Wednesday 8 September, under Alert Level 2 guidelines. Our thoughts are with our Auckland Playcentre whānau as you continue to do Playcentre at home, in Level 4.

For the rest of our centres, you are welcome to use Wednesday to prepare your centre to reopen on Thursday 9 September and this will be funded if you would like to do this.

When centres re-open, the emphasis should be on safety and as public health officials continue to reinforce, keeping track of everyone entering our premises is critical (see more information below on the NZ COVID Tracer QR code poster), along with ensuring we are all observing hygiene standards.

The Ministry has completed a review of the Alert Level 2 Public Health Response Order and updated all of their guidance material.

The table below summarises the Alert Level 2 requirements and recommendations for early learning services.

The Ministry of Education have also provided an Alert Level 2 checklist for licensed services and prepared up to date Alert Level 2 guidance material:

Alert level 2 checklist for licensed ECE’s

More detailed COVID-19 guidance for licensed early learning services

Please use these forms in the context that it relates to your centre ie. staff / centre whānau

Educational facilities are not considered gatherings under the COVID-19 alert level framework. This means there are no restrictions on numbers of people indoors or outside during the operating hours for early learning services other than what other public health or health and safety measures require, and usual licensing and building requirements apply.

While physical distancing is not a requirement in early learning services, we will be doing our best to keep physical distance between adults and keeping spaces well-ventilated while maintaining the required temperature.

Face coverings are not required to be worn in early learning services.

Public health recommend that the focus for children under six is on getting children to cough and sneeze into their elbow, and wash and dry hands / hand hygiene.

Face coverings are not required in early learning services and early learning services are not expected to provide face coverings for children or staff. It remains an option for those individuals, staff and whānau.  

  • Disinfect and clean all surfaces at the end of each session.
  • High-touch surfaces (e.g. play gyms, tables, chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets, sinks) are regularly cleaned.
  • Appropriate cleaning supplies are maintained and stored safely out of reach of children.

All businesses and workplaces legally must display an NZ COVID Tracer QR code in a prominent place at or near your main entrance. You also need to offer customers and visitors an alternative way to record their visit. If you are using an alternative contact tracing system, you need to record:

  • the entry and exit times for workers, visitors and contractors
  • the names of everyone on your premises or location
  • their contact details.

Please make sure you keep your contact tracing records secure.

Here is a link on how to get a QR code poster – Get your QR code poster | Unite against COVID-19 (covid19.govt.nz).

You can reprint your QR code posters, update and manage the contact details registered to your poster and archive any posters you no longer need online.

We have created the following sign to place on your Playcentre’s door to advise about Level 2 and one if you are not taking visitors just yet.

Signage related to COVID19

We recognise that you will be working with your parents, whānau and community to support safe participation in your service. We also recognise that after a move from Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 2 that some children will be slow to return. 
For permanently enrolled children who do not attend services under Alert Level 2 you can use the EC12 exemption until 30 September 2021. The Frequent Absence rule period will also be re-set from 1 October 2021. Funding cannot be claimed for children who are no longer enrolled.  The Ministry will continue to assess these settings as Alert Levels change.
Services do not need to complete an EC12 form for all children but will need to follow the process outlined in your Student Management System (SMS) to apply this exemption.  
We will continue to monitor the situation and will provide further advice as the alert levels are updated.   

If you have any questions please contact your Regional Office.

This information is a brief tikanga guide for centres returning to their place of learning and place of work under the COVID-19 level 2. The following guide will support centres wishing to use tikanga Māori to return to their learning environment. 

Click here for more info

As the situation develops and as more information becomes available, we will share this with you. Please also contact your Regional Office with any concerns.