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MOE Wellbeing Guide
We encourage schools and kura to draw on and share the COVID-19 Wellbeing Guide. It has been created to help teachers, parents/caregivers and whānau as they support the hauora/wellbeing of their children and young people.
The Guide was developed by clinical psychologist Julie McCormack, with support from Future Curious Limited. The third module is focused on preparing for the return to school:
Read the COVID-19 Health and Wellbeing guide – Learning from Home website
Protecting our tamariki from Omicron
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, public health advice has noted that our experience in New Zealand and overseas with COVID-19 shows that it does not affect children and teens in the same way it does adults.
While the role our tamariki play in transmitting COVID-19 is still unclear and is changing as new variants evolve and older populations become increasingly vaccinated, as of 28 January the Ministry of Health has advised “no new evidence has emerged yet on the transmission risk to or from children in light of Omicron … it is likely that children continue to pose a lower risk of transmission”.
As such, the Ministry of Health’s current advice is that transmission within school settings continues to be limited and is influenced by broader transmission in the community and household settings. That is, although children are susceptible to infection, transmission is more likely to occur between adults and from adults to children; the risk of child-to-child or child-to-adult transmission is considerably less.
Commonly, children have mild or no symptoms of COVID-19 with a short duration of illness that includes headache, fever, cough, nasal congestion and fatigue. Those more at risk are those living with pre-existing health conditions such as asthma, diabetes and obesity and socioeconomic barriers to accessing health care.
We can protect our tamariki through key interventions such as wearing masks, good ventilation, spatial distancing, ‘stay at home if sick’ policies and good hand hygiene. Encouraging good behaviours that will adhere to the COVID-19 Protection Framework outside of school hours, will also help to reduce risk for tamariki, their friends and whānau.
For more detailed information about the Omicron variant go to the Ministry of Health website.
Advice for tamariki with asthma
Starship Hospital has advised that there is a greater risk of hospitalisation in children with poorly controlled asthma.
“Poorly controlled” is anyone with an admission in the last two years or anyone with two or more courses of steroids in the last two years. Therefore, it’s important that children take their preventative medications and see their GP if their asthma is not well controlled.
Children experience many coughs and colds and respiratory viruses in the course of childhood, and these can result in asthma exacerbations for children with poorly controlled asthma.
Vaccination can provide strong protection for children with asthma to prevent hospitalisation.
It is not recommended that children with asthma are shielded by missing school. Instead, the advice is to get asthma under control. If whānau are still concerned about severe or poorly controlled asthma, they could consider bringing the second vaccine dose forwards on parental request. This would be preferable to the child missing school.
MOE General Advice
Staff and children in Years 4 – 13 must wear face coverings when inside at school when we are at Red.
Public health advice is that an appropriate face covering will fit snugly and seal well around facial contours. This can include single use, disposable masks (medical masks) and re-usable fabric masks with three layers.
Don’t worry if you don’t have these specific types of face coverings, as public health experts also say that any face covering is better than no face covering.
The Unite Against COVID-19 website also has information on how to make a face covering.
For those of you with children who might be reluctant to wear a face covering, there is some helpful advice from Michigan Health, including using simple, specific explanations about why they need to wear a face covering, adults being the role models, providing small rewards for wearing them, bringing face coverings into play such as drawing face coverings on characters in colouring books, or letting them choose/make the mask.
Vaccination for 5 to 11 Year Olds
Vaccination including a booster shot, remains an important tool to help prevent the most serious harm from the COVID-19 virus. If children and young adults who have been vaccinated do develop COVID-19, they are far less likely to get seriously ill and less likely to transmit the virus to others.
The free five- to 11-year-old vaccination programme is now underway and more than 100,000 children in New Zealand have had their first dose.
There is some helpful information available to support you on the Unite Against COVID-19 website including how to book a vaccine for your 5 – 11 year old and some great videos on the Kids Health page that can support you to talk to your tamariki about the COVID-19 vaccine.
There are no communications from NZQA for 2022. Please keep a look out for information on here during the year.