Kia ora koutou Playcentre whānau

New Zealand moved to Phase 3 of the Omicron response at midnight on Thursday 24 February.

In Phase 3, only household contacts of confirmed cases are required to self-isolate. The isolation period will be 10 days. All other contacts of COVID-positive cases are not required to isolate, but they will need to monitor for symptoms. Rapid antigen tests will become the primary testing method. 

In today’s email, please find guidance for managing positive cases at your centre, and information about the move to Phase 3 and increased discretionary hours.

David Moger

Chief Executive

If there is a positive case at your centre, contact your Regional Support Lead. They will then contact the Ministry of Education Single Point of Contact (SPOC) who will support you with what to do. It is important that you follow the advice received from the MOE Single Point of Contact (SPOC).

Playcentres no longer need to undertake contact tracing in their service under Phase 3 of the Omicron response. 

For more information, please refer to the public health toolkit on the Ministry of Education’s website page titled early learning services connected to a confirmed case.   


Playcentre Aotearoa will not be sharing information about individual Playcentres that may be affected.

Does our centre need to close if a positive case has been identified at our centre?

It may no longer be necessary for a Playcentre to close automatically when a case has been identified as infectious while in attendance. Detailed guidance will be available from the Ministry of Education to support centres to make this decision.

Contact tracing

This will become easier because household contacts of a case must isolate.

All other contacts should continue to monitor for symptoms, and if they arise, they should stay home and get a test.

Positive cases will receive a text notification advising they have COVID-19. The text will outline what the case and their household need to do.  Cases themselves are now asked to undertake their own investigation to identify close contacts.

Isolation period for cases and household contacts
A case will need to isolate at home for 10 days.
Anyone who is in the household will also isolate for 10 days and will need to get tested on day three and day 10.
Transitional arrangements for close contacts isolating prior to 25 February
People who are currently self-isolating as close contacts and are not household contacts can stop isolating and return to Playcentre from Friday 25 February if they are asymptomatic.
They do not need to produce a negative test result.

Everyone who is covered by the mandatory vaccination requirements must have their booster by Tuesday 1 March or 183 days after their second shot (whichever is later).
This means that:

  • workers (paid/volunteer) who received their second vaccination on or before 30 August 2021 will need to have had their booster by Tuesday 1 March 2022 to continue working onsite
  • workers (paid/volunteer) who received their second vaccination from 31 August 2021 onwards will need to receive their booster shot within 183 days of their second shot
  • the booster requirements apply to everyone under the coverage of original vaccination requirements, i.e., people working or volunteering at or for Playcentre who may have contact with children or will be present on session at a time when children are also present. This includes teachers, teacher aides, support staff, relief and casual staff, caretakers and cleaners, volunteers, and contractors. Information about how the vaccination mandate applies to each role can be found here

Please ensure that any new members submit their vaccination status information as part of the enrolment process.

Thank you to all those members who have provided their vaccination status information to help us meet the requirements set out by the Ministry of Education.

As soon as you have had your booster dose of the vaccine, please send us your evidence and we will update your record on our register.

Find out what information is required and who to contact.

An increase to discretionary days from 10 days to 20 days will be available for all Playcentres from 1 February until 31 May 2022.

The usual rules apply for accessing discretionary days, and you must provide the required reporting data to your Regional Funding Administrator.

If you have queries, please contact your Regional Funding Administrator.

Playcentre Open Week was scheduled for 21-25 March 2022. 

Playcentre Aotearoa has recognised the need to be flexible due to the pressure that centres are under managing COVID-19 and the rise in positive cases in the community.  Playcentre Open Week will instead be launched later in the year.