We have created a frequently asked questions bank specifically for the vaccine mandate. We are working with the Ministry of Education and will be continually adding more information as it becomes available.
If you have questions that you would like included please send them through to us via our COVID-19 feedback form available here
Yes, the next stage of the COVID-19 response is the COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic light system) which replaces the alert levels we have been previously operating under.
The purpose of the framework is to continue to protect our community, while also providing more certainty and new opportunities. It minimises the impact of COVID-19 through 3 settings — Red, Orange and Green.
Under the traffic light framework services are open. At the Red setting, our guidance is that parents/caregivers who can supervise their children at home should do so. This doesn’t prevent parent led services from opening.
At the Red setting, parents/caregivers who are able to supervise their children at home are encouraged to do so. However, all licensed early learning services should be open for anyone seeking to attend.
At the Red setting, children can attend more than one service, but parents/caregivers are encouraged to consider minimising the number of children and other adults their children are interacting with.
At each setting, parents/caregivers and visitors are encouraged to maintain 1m distancing from other adults if they are going on site.
Playcentres, as licensed early learning services, are covered by the vaccination mandate and staff and volunteers will need to be vaccinated. This includes paid and volunteer staff.
All employed, contracted, and volunteer workers must have their:
(1) first COVID-19 vaccination on or before 15 November 2021; and
(2) second vaccination by 1 January 2022.
The requirement is for all people who may come into contact with children onsite at early learning services to be vaccinated. This includes:
Yes, this mandate also includes parents or caregivers attending Playcentre playgroups and our infant programmes (Space and Babies Can Play eg.).
Where a playgroup operates at or for an education service then evidence of vaccination is required for those parents attending.
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.
We have created guidance for centres if an unvaccinated person comes into a Playcentre with conversation guides and a flow chart if this escalates. This is available here.
Staff members, volunteers and contractors who are involved in excursions and may have contact with children in the course of carrying out their work are required to be vaccinated.
The mandatory vaccination and testing requirements do not apply to children. Parents/caregivers do not need to be vaccinated to drop off, settle or pick up their children.
You do not need to be vaccinated to drop off and collect your child from Playcentre if your centre allows drop offs. They would need to follow the general COVID-19 health precautions of wearing a mask, social distancing of 2 metres, sanitise hands and sneeze into your elbow. We have created three signs, one to drop off at the gate, one with a settling time of 5 mins and one with a settling time of 30 mins. You are welcome to choose which one would suit your centre circumstances. Please note that drop-offs are not allowed for tamariki under 2 1/2 years of age.
We have created additional signage for you if your centre is doing drop offs (please see the signage resources).
No, all staff members or volunteers who do work covered by the Public Health Order must have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by 15 November 2021.
A staff member or volunteer who gets their first vaccination after 15 November can return to Playcentre. They must still receive their second vaccination on or before 1 January 2022. Please remember that there needs to be at least three weeks between vaccinations.
Fully vaccinated means the person has received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
The Public Health Order also allows for some alternative vaccinations to reflect that some people may have been vaccinated overseas.
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.
In the usual circumstances of a member’s tamariki leaving the centre for example to attend school, the parent then leaves the local centre and as such cannot attend meetings and be involved in decision making. In the light of a tamariki leaving because the parents have decided not to comply with the Government vaccine mandate, the local centre will need to decide how long they are prepared for the parent to remain involved before requiring them to withdraw.
We are currently developing the processes for how we will manage the Vaccination status information for Centres. In January we will provide centres with information and a flowchart in preparation for Term 1. It is critical that we protect the privacy of this information while meeting our responsibilities under the Covid-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Order 2021 and complying with Playcentre policies.
We will take the guidance of the MOE and the MOH with these. We are developing our processes for how we will manage this for and with Centres. In January we will provide centres with information and a flowchart in preparation for Term 1. It is critical that we protect the privacy of this information while meeting our responsibilities under the Covid-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Order 2021 and complying with Playcentre policies.
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.
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.
As per the Ministry of Education guidelines, any proof showing that a person has had at least one of the vaccinations is acceptable, including a screen shot from their vaccination record at My Covid Record email, immunisation card, SMS from vaccine provider, or BookMyVaccine website.
Generally speaking, no. The practical requirement of the certificate includes contributing to Playcentre sessions as a kaiako throughout the certificate. Unvaccinated ākonga are unable to attend Playcentre from 16 Nov and would be unable to meet the practicum requirement as a result. If you have already completed the practical and on-session mahi for the module in which you are currently enrolled, and are able to complete the assesment task without being at Playcentre after 15 Nov, you may still submit your assessment task(s) to complete your current module. You will not be able to enrol in any new modules under the current mandate if you are not vaccinated.
The Government mandate states that all students on placement in a licensed-ECE service must be vaccinated, and this includes teacher-led and homebased ECE in addition to Playcentre. Most Level 4 ākonga complete their practicum through Playcentre, homebased or teacher-led ECE and the same requirements apply in those setting. You would need to contact other providers directly to see if they offer other options. Playcentre Education’s practicum is designed to be completed on Playcentre sessions.
Absolutely. Once you meet the vaccination requirements, you are able to pick up from where you left off and carry on with the programme.
Yes. All ākonga who are continuing their practicum on Playcentre sessions will need to provide Playcentre with proof of vaccination or a medical exemption certificate. Click here to access the questionnaire.
Please see the flow chart below with regards hiring out your centre.
PDF version available here
Vaccine Mandated or Fully Vaccinated Groups or individuals are groups that fall under the current Public Health Order vaccine mandate, i.e. they are required to have their staff/volunteers vaccinated or are groups who are able to/prepared to sign a disclaimer to say that all individuals attending are vaccinated.
These groups/individuals are required to provide H&S Risk Assessment, H&S Plan and sign the H&S Disclaimer to say that they are responsible for making sure only vaccinated members are attending these hires. These groups may be asked by the Centre or may themselves ask attendees to present their vaccine passport as proof of vaccination.
These groups must still scan QR Codes on entry and follow the Covid-19 Protection Framework (Traffic Light System) or other government introduced information, including but not limited to number limits for groups where vaccine passes are not required. Existing limits on numbers at Centre’s for Fire Regulations etc still apply.
Open Hire Groups are not required to have all attendees vaccinated and are not required to ask attendees to show their vaccine pass.
The conditions for these groups include making sure everyone is scanning the QR Code and that a cleaning fee is paid as part of the hire. The cleaning fee enables Playcentre to pay a professional or have Centre Members clean to ensure that cleaning is to the standard required. These groups must sign the disclaimer to say that as the hirer are following the Covid-19 Protection Framework (Traffic Light System) or other government introduced information, including but not limited to number limits for groups where vaccine passes are not required. Existing limits on numbers at Centre’s for Fire Regulations etc still apply.
The Person Responsible in a vaccine mandated/fully vaccinated group or individual hire situation is obliged to let you know that their workers/members who will be onsite are vaccinated but not the individual status of each attendee or worker/volunteer. This will be provided as part of the Risk Assessment, H&S Plan and Disclaimer.
The decision to hire out your centre is at each centre’s discretion and comfort level. The Centre Membership must make the decision as a whole around what situations and groups can hire out the
centre. If you don’t feel comfortable hiring out or for an existing group or individual to carry on with a previous hire the centre has the ability to revoke the hire.
A memo and addendum is available to use to inform the existing third-party individual and group hires what our new processes and procedures are going forward and how this affects them. This is an addendum to all existing hire documents. It is the responsibility of the Centre to pass this on to the hirers and to discuss this with them. If the Centre or the hirer do not wish to follow this addendum or feel comfortable with what is being asked then the hire will be considered to be cancelled.
If a Mandated group or individual doesn’t wish to provide the Risk Assessment, H&S Plan and sign the disclaimer they are welcome to pay the cleaning fee and have centre members assume that there are non-vaccinated participants or members onsite during their sessions. It is up to each individual Centre to decide whether they are comfortable hiring out in this situation or not.
Risk Assessment and H&S Plan Templates can be found on the internet.
As per the Government Mandate NOBODY can hire a Playcentre on school premises when school children are at the school unless they are vaccinated as per the Public Health Order. This includes any situation where a license is in place for a child/children to be educated or cared for there.
As per for vaccine mandated/fully vaccinated groups as described in another FAQ, if your group is vaccinated and you are able to provide a H&S Risk Assessment, H&S Plan and sign a disclaimer that you are responsible for all members of the group being vaccinated and that you will follow the Cleaning Protocol. Then you will be able to hire the Playcentre premises. (subject to Centre and Property Coordinator approval)
Risk Assessment and H&S plan templates are available on google. These need not be an onerous process just a document to show that you are considering the risk assessment for your situation and have a plan to deal with it.
No. Currently it is not possible for enrolled Centre Members or Centre Staff Members who are not vaccinated to hire a Playcentre building. This would be seen as trying to circumvent the Public Health Order.
Centre Members are responsible for making sure this situation does not happen and when they sign the Hire Application Form are indicating that the party hiring the Centre are not in this situation.
Playcentres, Playgroups, Space and Other situations will be required to undertake the Cleaning Protocol that will be released. This is the same as the Hire Covid 19 Cleaning Protocol. Because the Centre has control over that they can hold Christmas functions, whānau days etc but the cleaning protocol must be followed after these events. These groups must also follow any Fire Regulation Maximum numbers and Covid 19 Government released information regarding sizes of gatherings, social distancing, masks, sanitising and PPE.
The Ministry of Education guidelines currently state that cleaners outside of licensed hours do not need to be vaccinated, as they do not come into contact with children.
The exception to this is a Playcentre that is located on school grounds. Inline with the vaccine mandate and Ministry of Education guidelines if an ECE is located on school grounds then everyone would need to be vaccinated if the cleaning is while other children are attending school.
If a Centre is regularly hiring a Cleaner they should be on a contract. But in the case of the new Cleaning Protocol that is required as part of the Covid-19 Open Hire situation an allowance has been made. This allows for a Centre Member to clean for up to 10 hires in the previous 12 months and to be paid without having a contract. The conditions of this are that the Centre Member must present an invoice as per the template invoice provided but specifically with the words “I acknowledge that I am responsible for my own tax obligations in relation to this work”. A Centre Member is also required to follow the Cleaning Protocols that are provided.
If more than 10 cleans may be required in a year but the Centre Member wishes to clean regularly then the Cleaner Contract Template provided can be use.
Another way to look at Centre Members cleaning after a hire and not getting paid is to consider this as fundraising as the cleaning fee will then go to the Playcentre.
Playcentre Aotearoa basic contract template http://www.playcentre.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Playcentre-Aotearoa_Basic-Contract-for-services.docx
The Ministry of Education guidelines currently state that cleaners outside of licensed hours do not need to be vaccinated, as they do not come into contact with children.
The exception to this is a Playcentre that is located on school grounds. In line with the vaccine mandate and Ministry of Education guidelines if an ECE is located on school grounds then everyone would need to be vaccinated if the cleaning is while other children are attending school.
Cleaning means to physically remove germs (bacteria and viruses), dirt and grime from surfaces using a detergent and water solution. It is an essential first step in any disinfection process.
Disinfecting means using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. It’s important to clean before disinfecting because dirt and grime can reduce the ability of disinfectants to kill germs. The disinfectant concentration and contact time are also critical for effective surface disinfection.
Gather your equipment such as cleaning and disinfecting agents, cleaning cloths and mops, and protective equipment to wear (eg, gloves) before you start cleaning.
Clean surfaces first with detergent and warm water. Anything labelled as a detergent will work. Disinfectants should only be used once the surface is fully cleaned because dirt and grime can reduce the effectiveness of a disinfectant to kill germs, including the COVID-19 virus.
Disinfectants come with instructions from the manufacturer describing how to safely use them. Make sure you give the disinfectant time to work – disinfectants require dwell time to be effective at killing germs. Dwell time is the amount of time the disinfectant should remain wet on a surface before drying. If no time is specified on the manufacturer’s directions, leave the disinfectant for ten minutes before drying the surface with a clean cloth.
When cleaning it is good to remember two general principles:
When floors are cleaned, they should be left dry before walking on to reduce the risk of slips and falls.
You can use hypochlorite disinfectants (bleach), products that contain ≥ 70% alcohol, or products that state on the label that they have antiviral activity, meaning they can kill viruses.
If using bleach, mix with water following the dilution instructions provided by the manufacturer. Fresh bleach solution should be made every 24 hours. If the solution is not prepared and used as described in the instructions, it is unlikely to be effective.
Yes, some products can be used for both cleaning and disinfecting, which can save time and effort. If using these products, make sure that you read and follow the instructions on the label to ensure they work effectively.
Hospital grade disinfectants must meet government standards for use in health care settings. A household or commercial grade disinfectant must also meet government standards, but the testing is not as comprehensive as it is for hospital grade disinfectants and the standards to be met are lower. The label on the product will say if it is a hospital grade disinfectant.
Household or commercial grade disinfectants are suitable for use in places that are not health care settings
Any surfaces that are frequently touched should be prioritised for cleaning, such as door handles, light switches, horizontal surfaces including tables and counter tops, phones, EFTPOS machines, touch screens, and workplace amenities (such as toilets). Any surfaces that are visibly dirty should also be cleaned as soon as they are identified, regardless of when they were last cleaned.
Buildings that are accessed by the public should be cleaned at least every day. If your building has many customers or others entering each day, more frequent cleaning is recommended.
A frequently touched surface is a surface that is touched multiple times each day by the same person or different people. Door handles and push plates, light switches, handrails, taps, basins, toilets, kitchen benches, table tops, and rubbish bins are examples of frequently touched surfaces.
Know what chemicals you are handling. Read the product label before use, and make sure you understand the instructions and follow all recommendations. You may need to wear personal protection items.
Make sure you only use chemicals in well ventilated areas, as many release fumes that can irritate your eyes and lungs and cause nausea or headaches. Be especially careful when diluting concentrated cleaners. Be aware of potential irritation from the cleaning chemicals to passers-by.
Never mix different chemicals together, unless the product label explicitly tells you to do so. Some common cleaning chemicals react when combined to create toxic gas that can be fatal if inhaled.
For routine cleaning (when there has not been a known case of COVID-19), you should wear appropriate gloves and any other protective items recommended by the manufacturer of the products you are using.
The building will need to be cleaned and disinfected as soon as possible. Generally, the cleaning and disinfecting that occurs after a case of COVID-19 can be done with the same products that are usually used for cleaning and disinfecting.
Contact the local public health unit or DHB IPC Service for further advice about what needs to be done. Read more about cleaning following a confirmed case of COVID-19.
Follow your usual procedures for cleaning or laundering soft or porous materials like soft toys, carpet, rugs or seating.
You should avoid any cleaning methods that may spread the virus or create droplets, such as using pressurised water, pressurised air (including canned air cleaners), dry cloth and dusters.
Physically cleaning surfaces with detergent and warm water, followed by disinfection when needed, is the most effective way to kill the virus that causes COVID-19. Fumigation or wide-area spraying (known as ‘disinfectant fogging’) does not clean surfaces effectively and there is little evidence that it is effective at killing COVID-19. Additionally, if fogging is not done correctly, it can expose workers and others to hazardous chemicals.
A sanitiser is a chemical that is designed to kill some, but not all, bacteria and some viruses that can cause disease in humans or animals. These chemicals are not as strong as disinfectants, which makes them safe to use on skin. For example, provided your hands are not soiled, when you should wash your hands with soap and water, a hand sanitiser with ≥60% alcohol will kill the COVID-19 virus. If you’re disinfecting a hard surface or object use a disinfectant not a sanitiser.
Extreme heat will destroy the virus that causes COVID-19 but is not recommended as a general disinfection method. Viruses are generally resistant to the cold and can remain viable if frozen.
Store-bought disinfectants meet government standards, so you know they will work. However, if you don’t have store bought disinfectant available, you can prepare a disinfecting solution using bleach and water. If using bleach, mix with water, following the dilution instructions provided by the manufacturer. Fresh bleach solution should be made every 24 hours. Do not use products such as vinegar, baking soda, essential oils, mouthwash or saline solution – these will not kill COVID-19.
Most disinfectants will kill both bacteria and viruses. To be called a disinfectant wipe or solution it must kill both bacteria and viruses. Antibacterial products are designed specifically to kill bacteria, however, COVID-19 is caused by a virus rather than by bacteria, so unless it has an antiviral claim, an antibacterial product may not be effective.
Detergent and warm water are suitable for cleaning surfaces and should be used prior to using a disinfectant.
For cleaning hands, regular soap and warm water, then thorough drying with a clean towel/paper towel is effective.
No. Disinfecting wipes are designed to be used on a single surface and then disposed in a rubbish bin (not flushed down the toilet). If you use a disinfecting wipe on multiple surfaces it will lose its effectiveness and may even transfer germs from one surface to another. If the product you are using is not a combined (2-in-1) cleaning and disinfecting wipe, clean the surface first.
Ensure you read and follow the directions that come with the disinfecting wipes.