Education

Guidance on education during each Alert Level, including distance learning and sending children to school.

Education at Alert Level 1

At Alert Level 1, all early learning services, schools, kura and tertiary education facilities are open to everyone. There are no restrictions on school activities like camps, sports practices, school productions and interschool events.

If you or your child is sick, staying home is the best thing you can do to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Remind your tamariki (children) to wash and dry their hands often, and cough or sneeze into their elbow.

All schools, kura and early learning services legally must display a QR code. If you have older children, encourage them to sign in and keep track of where they have been. The NZ COVID Tracer app is the best way to help us contact trace quickly and safely.

Advice for parents and whānau (external link)

Education at Alert Level 2

At Alert Level 2, all early learning services, schools, kura and tertiary education facilities are open to everyone.

Schools should put extra public health control measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep staff, ākonga (students) and tamariki (children) safe.

Schools should provide distance learning options for tamariki (children) who cannot attend school – for example, if they need to self-isolate.

School events or activities like performances, cultural events and sports can continue. Ākonga (students) and teachers do not need to physically distance. But parents, carers and whānau who visit the school should try to keep 2m apart from people they do not know.

More information for students, whānau and the education sector (external link)

Education at Alert Level 3

Early learning services, schools and kura

At Alert Level 3, tamariki (children) and young people should learn from home. Schools will be open for those tamariki (children) whose parents or carers need to go to work.

Play centres and playgroups must close.

Schools should provide distance learning options for all tamariki (children) and young people who are learning from home, including those tamariki (children) who need to self-isolate and cannot attend school.

Schools may set up bubbles to help maintain physical distancing in the classroom and outside. Parents, carers and whānau who are visitors to the school should keep 2m apart from people outside their household.

Ministry of Education resources and advice for parents and whānau for learning from home (external link)

More information for students, whānau and the education sector (external link)

Tertiary providers and whare wānanga

At Alert Level 3, all tertiary education providers should deliver their courses online.

In some cases, online learning may not be an option, for example lab work or research. Tertiary providers can deliver some education services in person if they can meet public health guidelines. 

Limit in person classes or workshops to 20 people per class. Each class is considered a ‘bubble’ and must not interact with any other student/staff bubbles of 20.

Student accomodation, for example university halls of residence can remain open with physical distancing and extra hygiene measures.

Ministry of Education advice for tertiary providers/whare wānanga (external link)

Ministry of Education advice for tertiary students (external link)

When to stay home

All tamariki (children), young people, and ākonga (students) should stay home if they are unwell. If you or your child develops cold or flu symptoms, call your doctor or Healthline for advice.

If you or your child are told to self-isolate, you legally must do so immediately. 

If you or your child are asked to get a COVID-19 test, please get one. COVID-19 tests are free for everyone, including international students. By getting a test you are helping keep everyone safe.

More information on getting a COVID-19 test

Face coverings

Tamaraki (children), young people and teachers do not need to wear face coverings at:

  • schools
  • early learning centres, or
  • on school transport.

Children and staff may wear face coverings at school if they choose to.

Tamariki (children) and ākonga (students) who are over 12 years old legally must wear a face covering on public transport.

People with certain health or medical conditions do not have to wear face coverings.

Find out when you need to wear a face covering

If a case of COVID-19 is identified at a school

If an educational facility is connected to a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19, it will close for at least 72 hours to allow for cleaning and contact tracing.

Schools should follow Ministry of Health advice or advice from the local health authority.

Make sure children are safe and cared for

Alert Level changes mean that some children will have less contact with trusted adults than usual. If you’re worried that a child or young person, you can contact Oranga Tamariki. This could include if you know a child is not safe or is not with their parents or caregivers.

Contact Oranga Tamariki, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Phone 0508 326 459
Email contact@ot.govt.nz 

Financial support for students

If you're an ākonga (student) who is struggling financially, you may be able to ask Studylink for help. 

COVID-19 information for students (external link)

Emergency Benefit for temporary visa holders

If you're an international student, you may be able to apply for the Emergency Benefit. The Emergency Benefit is a weekly payment to help pay for basic living costs while you arrange to get home as soon as you can.

You can apply for the Emergency Benefit until 31 August 2021.

Find out if you can get the Emergency Benefit, and how to apply (external link)

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