Is it safe for kindergartens to open? In deciding what will happen at Alert Level 2, the government has deemed kindergartens as safe environments for tamariki and staff, safe and sensible practices for hygiene and contact tracing will be the norm, and all tamariki will be able to return, so long as they remain well.
The two key public health principles that support the government’s approach to returning to kindergarten 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 an infected person and/or probable case.
You can read more about this here http://www.education.govt.nz/
Will kindergartens have physical distancing measures in place?
No - key public health measures to be undertaken in kindergartens at Alert Level 2 focus on safe and sensible practice. The Ministry of Health advises: “Because young tamariki require a lot of physical support, good hygiene practices remain central. Just as in Alert Level 3, there does not need to be a measurable physical distance between tamariki or between tamariki and staff.”
What will happen if there is a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 at my kindergarten? In line with instructions from the Ministry of Health, any impacted kindergarten must close for 72 hours to allow the Ministry of Health to undertake contact tracing and cleaning to occur with the potential for the kindergarten to be closed for a further 14 day period. The Ministry of Health, Public Health Unit and ourselves would be in close contact with you should this occur.
What health and safety measures will kindergartens have in place at Alert Level 2?
Regular washing and drying of hands continues. The instructions we have from the Ministry of Health are:
Disinfect and clean all surfaces daily.
Indoor temperature must be set at a minimum of 18 degrees Celsius.
Indoor and outdoor space requirements return to standard license requirements, ie 2.5m indoors and 5m outdoors.
Outdoor play areas can be used, including sandpits.
Tamariki will continue to have their own food containers and need to be watched closely so they do not give or take food to and from each other.
Ensure effective contact tracing processes for everyone who visits the service, every day.
And we have our own cleaning schedule in place to ensure those high touch areas such as outdoor play equipment, tables, chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets, sinks, basins, taps, benches (including kitchen) and gate latches are cleaned several times throughout the day.
Will staff be wearing PPE?
Personal protective equipment is not required or recommended as necessary in any educational facility by the Public Health officials.
My child is vulnerable to COVID-19 - are they allowed to come back to kindergarten?
All tamariki and staff who are at greater risk of getting a severe illness from COVID-19 may now go to early learning services. If you choose to keep your child at home please let your head teacher know so we can help you to continue your child’s learning at home.
My child is scared to come back to kindergarten
Talk with your kindergarten’s teaching team - they know your child, you, and your whānau best, and have years of collective experience in helping families through difficult and scary times. There are also some great resources on our You Tube site https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLsdvx0gQwqzTTaeAljzsbLpQSs8aKCITg that might help. We would encourage that tamariki (children) return to kindergarten as soon as possible - the routine and connection with other tamariki and teachers are so important to helping them get back to some sense of normality and safety.
But every child is different - the decision to return to kindergarten is always yours, and must be made with the best interests of your child in mind. We will support you in your decision.
If we don’t return to kindy straight away will we lose our place, and/or be charged fees?
Getting your child back to kindergarten is a big milestone – but we understand that some of you may not be ready to come back yet. There will be some requirements around attendance to meet government funding rules in time, but we have rest of this month to settle tamariki back in and for whānau to re-establish everyday routines.
By the beginning of June we hope that all tamariki would have returned, or that you have talked through a plan for your child to return with your kindergarten’s head teacher. We won’t be charging any fees until the 2nd of June 2020 – it’s our way of giving back after what has been a challenging time for all of us. If you are concerned talk to your kindergarten’s head teacher, or call our head office on 03 338 1303, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information from the Ministry of Education on Alert Level 2 and Early Learning Services, please see:
Key changes for early learning services at Alert Level 2 include:
Services are able to operate to their full license numbers as issued by the Ministry of Education.
All tamariki and staff who are at greater risk of getting a severe illness from COVID-19 may now go to early learning services.