COVID-19 MoE & MoH Information

Covid 19 Update

COVID-19: Confirmed, probable or possible cases linked to your school

 As anticipated, new cases of COVID-19 have been identified as New Zealanders return home.  
Testing for possible cases and those presenting with symptoms continues, with more than 340,000 people tested in New Zealand as at 22 June.  

If there is a confirmed case in your school

While unlikely at Alert Level 1, if there was a confirmed or probable case linked with your school or early learning service, you would be advised of that by the Medical Officer of Health or your local public health authority (or local Ministry of Education staff working in conjunction with local health authorities).  

Who needs to stay away?

Unless directed by the Medical Officer of Health, the only people who need to stay away are those who are:

  • Unwell
  • Self-isolating (at the request of health authorities)
  • Waiting for COVID test results
 Everyone else should be at school.  
Anyone who is a contact of a ‘close contact’ is 
not required to self-isolate.  Close contacts are self-isolating as a precaution only, and will monitor for symptoms.  
For example - a staff member who had close contact with someone 
confirmed with COVID-19 will be asked by health authorities to self-isolate for 14 days from when they last had contact with the confirmed case. Their family members and other close contacts of the staff member are not required to self-isolate unless they have also had close contact with a confirmed case.

Waikato DHB Update

We would like to get back to our minimum of 90% average attendance at school, and our teachers are keen to see all of their students, in person.

The MOE want to reassure families that it is safe to send students to school – the following has come from Paula Rawiri, the Waikato Director of Education.

An update from Waikato DHB’s Public Health Unit 
As noted recently by Canterbury paediatrician and Associate Professor Tony Walls and his University of Otago colleague, Professor Philip Hill, the international evidence to date suggests that: children tend to have a mild illness if they contract COVID-19 and that children are less likely to spread the virus than older age groups. An Australian study of 9 school students who were cases of COVID-19, and had been at school while infectious, found that no teacher or staff member contracted the virus from any of the students. 
We can be reassured by the decreasing numbers of active cases in New Zealand, including in the Waikato, who now have no active cases as of today, and also by the very low proportion of all cases in New Zealand that are considered to have resulted from community transmission. 

What do the numbers tell us? 
To assist Waikato schools and early childhood services/nga
̄ kohanga reo and playgroups as they work towards getting back into classrooms this week, we’ve provided a quick update on how COVID-19 has affected children in New Zealand. Nationally, fewer than 2% of all cases have occurred in children aged 9 years and under, and 8% of all cases have been in the 10-19 year age range. While local data paints a similar picture, the national data gives a more robust picture of the distribution of cases across age groups because the numbers are bigger and more representative of how COVID-19 affects different age groups.
Extremely low rates of historic possible community transmission 
More than 95% of all of the cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand were linked to overseas travel or confirmed cases, and we have also had a number of well-publicised clusters which were focused on those living and working in Aged Residential Care (Rest Homes). 

Keep up the hygiene measures and physical distancing

  • Washing your hands with soap and water and drying your hands thoroughly have never been more important. 
  • Stay home if you’re sick. 
  • If you do have coughs and sneezes, use tissues to cover coughs and sneezes and put them straight into the bin, or sneeze into your elbow.
  • Get tested early if you have any symptoms.

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  • Keep up the physical distancing – 2 metres when out in public and one metre in the classroom (or with people you know). 
  • We know it’s tempting to hug your friends when seeing them in person, but give them a virtual high 5 instead. 
  • Don’t share pens, pencils, phones/devices or your lunch with others. 
  • Use disinfectant/alcohol wipes to clean keyboards, tablets, phones, tables, door handles and other surfaces that are touched frequently. 
Look out for your friends 
Remember to be kind to others – everyone’s been through a lot, while some have had fun at home during the lockdown period, it hasn’t been fun for everyone. 
Remember there are a lot of online wellbeing support tools including Sparklers and the AllRight? wellbeing resources. Getting Through Together is a mental wellbeing campaign focused on things we can all do to maintain our mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Self-help tools for young people 
Feeling down, worried or stressed (SPARX) Learn more about mental health issues (Mental Wealth) Recognising and understanding depression and anxiety (The Lowdown)

Changes from Alert Level 3

The significant changes for schools and early learning centres are:

  • Physical Distancing – Physical distancing is a good precaution to prevent the spread of disease. In an Alert Level 2 school environment, this means children, young people, and staff maintaining a physical distance so that they are not breathing on or touching each other, coupled with good hygiene practices (coughing into your elbow, handwashing and drying) and regular cleaning of commonly touched surfaces. There are situations where physical distancing is not possible, such as some sporting activities. In these situations extra emphasis on handwashing and drying (or cleansing with hand sanitiser) before and after activities and regular cleaning of equipment is very important.

  • Mass gatherings – workplaces, educational facilities, and public and school transport are not considered mass gatherings. This means there are no restrictions on numbers of people indoors or outside at schools and early learning services other than what other public health or health and safety measures require. The exception is where people from outside the school may be attending, eg for a school production or school ball.  In these examples and if a school is hiring out their hall or allowing community groups to use school facilities, the mass gathering rules will apply.

  • Sports and playgrounds – school playgrounds, sports equipment use and activities can resume.  Contact sports can resume.  This relies on being able to contact trace who is on site during school hours and at school team training and competitions.  Any inter school events that recommence will need to have a contact tracing register in place to record those playing for and against teams.

  • There is no bubble concept at Level 2 so there are no restrictions on groups of children and students mixing with others on site.  Where practicable where groups/classes do mix – attendance should be recorded as it should if the composition of groups and classes change during the day. Teachers/staff are not restricted to one group and can move freely between groups of students.

The key controls for schools and all workplaces are:

  • ensure people with COVID-19 symptoms or feel generally unwell stay away from school
  • maintain physical distancing (in schools this means children, young people, and staff maintaining a physical distance so that they are not breathing on or touching each other)
  • enable good hygiene practices
  • keep track of people that enter your school

Public health measures that must be taken in schools

In addition to your usual practices when managing health and safety, there are some specific public health requirements for Alert Level 2 that must be adhered to in all schools:

  • Parents are asked to keep any sick children at home. If a sick child comes to school, send them home.

  • Children, young people and staff should be far enough away from each other so that they are not breathing on or touching each other, coupled with good hygiene practices and regular cleaning of commonly touched surfaces. There does not need to be a specific measurement but where practicable 1 metre should be used as a guide, particularly between adults.

  • Hand sanitiser at entry to class rooms and in shared spaces.  Soap, water and the ability to dry hands must be provided in bathrooms.

  • Where practicable ensure that children and young people regularly wash and dry hands, cough and sneeze into their elbow, and try to avoid touching their face.

  • Physical education classes and break time activities can include access to sports equipment including playgrounds but hygiene practice should be observed after playing with equipment.

  • Disinfect and clean all surfaces daily.

  • Contact tracing registers must be set up and identify which children and adults are on site, in each teaching space, including recording if there is a different composition of children and adults during the day. This includes recording visitors to the site, including parents. 

  • Consider whether students should be allowed off the premises at lunchtime.

School staff are to observe students on arrival into the classroom checking for symptoms and ask those presenting as unwell to go home (or arrange for parents and caregivers to come and pick up). Please note, this does not mean that temperatures are to be taken.
A reminder that Principals at state and state-integrated schools have authority to preclude a student from attending if they believe on reasonable grounds may have a communicable disease under section 19 of the Education Act.

MoE Letter - Device Delivery Public Health Statement for the Education Sector

We have carefully looked at the evidence around COVID-19 and educational settings, and at the experience of other countries in responding to COVID-19 in these settings to inform the public health advice to the education sector in planning for a move to Level 2.

Our experience in New Zealand and overseas with COVID-19 over the last four months shows that it does not infect or affect children and teens in the same way it does adults.

So children and teens have low infection rates, they don't become that unwell if they do get infected, and they don't tend to pass the virus on to adults.

Quality education is a public health intervention in itself, so I am very aware of the benefits of children and young people attending school and early learning, and the need to support children and young people to do this as quickly as we can.

The two key public health principles that support our approach at Alert Level 2 are first to minimise the risk that someone gets infected in the first place, and second to ensure we can identify and contact anyone who has been in close contact with a person, if someone in a school or early learning centre is infected.

Any children, young people and staff should stay at home if they are sick or should be sent home immediately if they show any symptoms.

Physical distancing is a good precaution to prevent the spread of disease. In an Alert level 2 school environment, this means children, young people, and staff maintaining a physical distance so that they are not breathing on or touching each other, coupled with good hygiene practices (coughing into your elbow, handwashing and drying) and regular cleaning of commonly touched surfaces.

There are situations where physical distancing is not possible, such as some sporting activities. In these situations, extra emphasis on handwashing and drying (or cleansing with hand sanitiser) before and after activities and regular cleaning of equipment is recommended.

In an early learning environment, it is not possible to have a physical distance between children and staff. Young children require a lot of physical support and it is not possible to explain or maintain a physical distance between young children given the age of the children and set up of centres.

This means good hygiene practices (coughing into your elbow, regular handwashing, and drying) are even more important.

Schools and early learning services will also maintain registers so that children, young people and staff can immediately be contacted by public health services if there is a probable or confirmed case.

And it is important that parents fully support this approach by doing their bit - keeping children home if they are unwell and seeking medical advice about whether a child may need to be tested; and ensuring great hygiene practices at all times.

Dr Caroline McElnay
Director, Public Health, Ministry of Health

Alert Level 2 for Schools

Under Alert Level 2, it is safe for all schools to open. Safe and sensible practices for hygiene and contact tracing will be the norm, and all students will be able to return, so long as they remain well.

Under Alert Level 2, there are still likely to be new cases which may be the result of household transmission or associated with cluster outbreaks that are contained. The disease remains in New Zealand, so we need to remain vigilant and take appropriate steps to avoid transmission. People are able to leave home but are asked to do so in a safe and conscientious way.

The key principles for
Alert Level 2 are to:

  • reduce the risk of someone getting infected in the first place
  • ensure we can identify and contact anyone who becomes infected
  • understand that Level 2 is not business as usual.

Schools will be open to all students and year levels at Alert Level 2 from the beginning of the next school week after the announcement is made. All staff will be able to be on site from the start of Alert Level 2, as will students who have been on site during Alert Level 3.

MoE Letter - Device Delivery

To view the letter being distributed with the devices, click here.

COVID-19 Testing

Anyone with one or more of the symptoms on the list below should be tested, (a link to locations of local CBACs is included below).
Please phone Healthline, your GP or the school nurse if you have any questions.

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Waikato DHB have been actively encouraging residents to visit CBACs and has one of the highest testing volumes in the country with nearly 7000 tests completed to date. This equates to 11,900 tests per million population, well above the national rate of 8,881 tests per million.

The Ministry of Health has encouraged regions to increase testing and the Waikato DHB is boosting this promotion of CBAC services which has been included in local signage, advertising and campaigns across radio, print and social media.

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The MOH has updated the case definition in this

It includes: Suspect case
A suspect case satisfies the following clinical criteria:
Any acute respiratory infection with at least one of the following symptoms: couch, sore throat, shortness of breath, coryza, anosmia with or without fever.

All people meeting the suspect case definition for COVID-19 should be tested to confirm or exclude a diagnosis.

There is a dedicated Healthline for COVID-19 which is 0800 358 5453 and it is free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Waikato DHB has set up Community Based Assessment Centres (CBAC) throughout the Waikato. The centres are open every day. These centres are for assessment and testing if you have symptoms of COVID-19.
To find out where the local testing stations are click

Comment from the School Admin

24th April 2020

Dear Parents,
Over the past five days our Network  Manager has been consulting with a number of principals and bus operators around New Zealand. Based on these discussions, the Waikare Schools Transport Committee is not confident that we will be able to offer our regular school bus services to students without compromising the guidelines set down by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education, or running the risk of leaving students stranded at the roadside.
Therefore, the Committee will not offer scheduled school bus services during Alert Level 3. Parents that need assistance to get children to school are able to contact School Admin to make a request. Assistance to access school will be provided, where possible, in the form of a taxi-style, door-to-door bus service. Non-notified students will not be collected.
Please contact Greig Neilson at School Admin on 07 80 80 249 to request assistance.

Comment from the Secretary of Education

With the start of Term 2 , it is very timely to acknowledge the contributions students have been making to the essential workforce during the school holidays, including working hard in many of your local supermarkets.

The start of term 2 does however signal that students’ work hours must return to being outside of school hours only. It is unlawful for students to work during school hours, as Section 30 of the Education Act does not allow this - even during the lockdown period.

Home Learning | Papa Kāinga TV and Māori Television education broadcasting starts 9am 15 April

Home Learning | Papa Kāinga TV will start education broadcasting for early learners and students in Years 1–10 from 9am on Wednesday 15 April, with Māori Television launching te reo educational programmes on the same day.

As a result of negotiations led by Nicholas Pole (Chief Review Officer and Chief Executive of the Education Re Review Office), Home Learning | Papa Kāinga TV will be free to air, on TVNZ channel 2+1 and on TVNZ on Demand, as well as on Sky Channel 502. It will run from 9am to 3pm on schooldays with programming for children and young people, as well as for parents.

Content will be grouped for early learners and students by age range, and will include play, literacy, mathematics, science, te reo Māori, physical education and wellbeing. All of the programmes will feature highly experienced teachers and presenters, along with wellbeing and movement experts.

Te reo Māori, kura and Māori medium learning
We are working to provide a range of distance learning options for ākonga and whānau in reo Māori and Maori medium education settings.

Keeping te reo Māori flowing in our kainga during times where we can’t connect as usual is paramount. The distance learning package we are providing aims to offer many options to engage in te reo Māori educational content using online material, hardcopy resources and live tv.

Online learning – Ki te Ao Mārama Ki te Ao Mārama is a new online space on that provides whānau with practical advice, guidance and resources to use with their tamariki.  It’s also intended to support the learning plan that kaiako may have prepared for their ākonga.

The site is available in both te reo Māori and English, and has a range of learning materials to cover ākonga in kōhungahunga, kura, wharekura, and te reo Māori immersion settings. The content includes activity templates, planning guides, links to helpful resources and access to storybooks, all conveniently arranged by age group.

You can also visit Ki te Ao Mārama to check out news items and get information about other aspects of our distance learning package for reo Māori learners.

New informative and educational content will continue to be added to Ki te Ao Mārama on a regular basis.

From our National Library

I’m excited to announce that AnyQuestions is now open from 10am to 6pm, Monday - Friday while we are in lockdown, so that we can provide more support to students learning from home.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the service, offers free, online help to assist New Zealand students with their schoolwork. Between 10am and 6pm weekdays, students can log on and chat with a librarian who will help guide their research and teach them valuable information literacy skills so they can find the information for themselves. AnyQuestions aims to supplement and enhance what you're already doing in the school and library environment.
Many Answers on the AnyQuestions website is another great resource for students. It has over 170 entries designed to guide students to quality resources around a topic, with searching and website evaluation tips.
Here are some recently published entries:
Epidemics Senior Primary (Years 5 - 8)
Sign language (New Zealand) Junior Secondary (Years 7 - 10)
Recycling (Junior) Junior Primary (Years 1 - 4)

Planning for learning in Term 2

When Term 2 starts next week, our teachers and your children will be working with each other in some new and different ways.

“The secretary for Education, Iona Holsted  said this yesterday

“Shortly the Minister will be announcing more details about the package of resources that will be available to support state and state integrated schools and kura to provide distance learning and to enable students to participate in learning from home.”

We have been working hard to determine our own needs and capacities,  as well as those of our students. Schools that were already fully BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) are at an advantage in launching into fully remote learning while in Lock Down. The MOE has set about levelling the playing field by undertaking to provide the needed devices. I applaud this initiative, particularly as it seems that there is no intention that this be a temporary fix of the device shortage problem that we generally experience, as a limiting factor for some of our students. Iona also says:
“The targeting of limited resources and the complexity of contactless home delivery are complex. We are doing everything we can to get this right; we would really appreciate your patience and kindness if it doesn’t all roll perfectly…..There are a range of supports you can draw on while helping your children with their learning at home….If you haven’t already, have a look at the Learning From Home and Ki te Ao Mārama websites.”   The MOE is continually adding to these resources.   
In the meantime, if you do not have a device for your child, students should all have a hard copy of a set of work that will bridge any gaps. If you were not able to collect, or did not receive by drop off, the learning pack for your child that our teachers prepared, the MOE will provide one. There are also a lot of excellent learning resources available on TV.  
On Wednesday 15
th April teachers will be establishing their ways of contacting students and setting up their protocols with their classes. Active teaching of timetabled classes will start no later than Thursday the 16th.
We are all in this learning curve together. Let’s make it work for us all to make us stronger and better equipped for the digitally enhanced future that has been promised for so long. 
Deborah Hohneck

Removing data caps for internet

Please be advised most of the major telcos have now removed data caps and the possibility of any extra charges based on usage.   Please see the links to those major companies below if your staff or students working from home need further support with this.
“Removing overage charges for customers who are on data-capped broadband plans, so they won’t have to worry about paying extra to stay connected. This applies to both small and medium business and consumer customers;”
“The removal of data caps from data-capped Broadband plans for consumers and small to medium sized businesses until at least the end of June 2020”
“We removed all the data caps from our plans to better enable you to work from home during this time of social distancing and self-isolation.”
“Any customer who was on a limited data plan on or before Friday, March 20 will now receive unlimited data through until June 2020.”  

Wellbeing for all

We have information focused on wellbeing and supporting a child’s learning at home for parents, caregivers and whānau. It may also be useful for teachers. This resource adds to the information we have previously provided supporting conversations with children about COVID-19 -

Further information to support wellbeing

The Ministry of Health’s website includes Top ways to look after your mental wellbeing during the Covid-19 lockdown. - I AM HOPE is the youth and community focused support group run by The Key to Life Charitable Trust, started by Mike King. - Nathan Wallis has some helpful videos on his Facebook page for parents and whānau - tips on looking after mental health and wellbeing during COVID-19 from the Mental Health foundation - a website by the Health Promotion Agency to help New Zealanders recognise and understand depression and anxiety. `
25 Mental Health Wellness Tips during Quarantine from Eileen M Feliciano, Psy.D. – although overseas-based this is a good list and highlights some things particularly important for children. Remember the rules of New Zealand’s level 4 lockdown still apply.
Remember, be kind to yourself and others.

We’ll add more resources to our website. This week we’re developing tip sheets to support parents to navigate common challenges they may have with toddlers, children and young people through this time – for example, a tip sheet on getting a good night’s sleep. 

If you have any ideas for wellbeing and learning at home resources and tip sheets that would help others please contact or phone the Learning Support Enquiries line at 0800 622 222.

Free phone counselling services

Male Support Services Waikato would like to offer the following service to help whānau, workers and the community.

As a result of the current situation with the COVID-19 virus we fully understand the pressures and stress that will be placed on the community and particularly whānau. To help alleviate this we have set up a free counselling service. This will be available for the next 6 weeks after which it will be reassessed.

We have a list of 20 registered, accredited, vetted and professional counsellors available looking to support you.

Currently this is available for the Waikato Community but also those in the Bay of Plenty and King Country, where our arm often reaches.

It is available to all ages as we understand, that our youth and younger will also be under duress.

There is no limit to the sessions.

This is for both
Males and Females.

How to access this:

Phone 0800677289, option 0

If between 8 and 5 your call will be answered. You only need to provide a name and contact number which will be allocated to a counsellor to make contact. Outside of these hours please leave a message with you name and number. We aim to have everyone contacted within 24hrs if not immediately.

This has been made possible through the good will and reduced rate of our counsellors. We have also received funding from the Gallagher Group. Further funding is being considered by Trust Waikato and partners. We will list once confirmed.

Please make use of this service even if just for a chat.

MSS Waikato

Contact Us
Location: 50-64 Waerenga Road, Te Kauwhata, New Zealand
Phone: (07) 826 3715

2021 Term Dates
Term 1: Thursday 4th February - Friday 16th April
Term 2: Monday 3rd May - Friday 9th July
Term 3: Monday 26th July - Friday 1st October
Term 4: Monday 18th October - Friday 10th December

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