Education

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

Latest update — 28 September 2021

  • The Government has announced changes to the permitted personal reasons for crossing the Alert Level boundary.
  • From 11:59pm on 28 September 2021, you can travel out of Auckland to an Alert Level 2 region to attend a tertiary education facility.
  • If you're returning to student accomodation, contact your accomodation provider before you move so they can help you move back safely.
  • You will need evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result administered no more than 72 hours before your travel, and you will also need to carry evidence of your reason to travel.

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 2 metres apart from people they do not know.

Boarding schools

At Alert Level 2, students can return to school hostels and accomodation at boarding schools, but they must travel there in a safe way.

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

Tertiary providers and whare wānanga

At Alert Level 2, tertiary students can attend classes, lectures, labs, workshops, tutorials, and meetings in person. Tertiary providers should provide distance learning options for those students who cannot attend classes in person, and to make sure students who do attend in-person classes can distance safely.

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

Students can now travel from an Alert Level 3 region to an Alert Level 2 region to attend classes in person, and return to their student accomodation. You will need evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result administered no more than 72 hours before your travel, and you will also need to carry evidence of your reason to travel.

Students returning to their accomodation facility should contact their accomodation provider first, so they can help you move back safely.

Travel between an Alert Level 3 and Alert Level 2 region

Face coverings

Face coverings in schools and tertiary education facilities for those aged 12 and over is strongly encouraged, but it is not a requirement.

Staff and students must wear a face covering at tertiary education faciltiies when accessing services such as student health, pharmacies, banks and other retailers on campus.

Education at Alert Level 3

Early learning services, schools and kura

At Alert Level 3, tamariki (children) and young people should learn from home.

Early learning centres can open to provide childcare for tamariki (children) whose parents need to go into work. Play centres and playgroups must close.

Schools and kura will be open for tamariki (children) in Years 1 to 10 whose parents or carers need to go to work and have no available options for childcare. All young people in Years 11, 12 and 13 should learn from home.

We encourage you to keep your tamariki (children) at home if you have other caregiving options. Your child's school will work with you to find out which tamariki (children) need to go into school.

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 must set up bubbles to help maintain physical distancing in the classroom and outside. Each bubble should have no more than 10 tamariki (children) or rangatahi (young people). Teachers are not included in this total. Teachers should stay with the same bubble of students.

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 10 people per class. This group of 10 should include the tutor. Each class is considered a bubble and must not interact with any other student/staff bubbles of 10.

Staff and students should wear a face covering when attending classes in person.  

Students can now travel from an Alert Level 3 region to an Alert Level 2 region to attend classes in person, and return to their student accomodation. You will need evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result administered no more than 72 hours before your travel, and you will also need to carry evidence of your reason to travel.

Students returning to their accomodation facility should contact their accomodation provider first, so they can help you move back safely.

Travel between an Alert Level 3 and Alert Level 2 region

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

Ministry of Education advice for tertiary students (external link)

Student accomodation

Student accomodation  for example university halls of residence can remain open with physical distancing and extra hygiene measures. Students should continue to stay in their accomodation and keep to their bubble.

Teacher aides

If your tamariki (child) or rangatahi (young person) has a learning need, you can invite one teacher aide to be a part of your bubble so they can provide face-to-face learning. The teacher aide cannot join any other school bubble.

Education at Alert Level 4

At Alert Level 4, all education facilities are closed.

This includes:

  • early learning services
  • schools
  • kura
  • tertiary education providers and whare wānanga

All students must learn from home. Your child's school will contact you directly about organising learning materials and devices to be delivered to your home.

Tertiary accomodation can remain open. If you normally live in student accomodation, but you travelled home to stay with friends or whānau during Alert Level 4, you cannot return to your student accomodation until Alert Level 4 restrictions are lifted.

Learning from home resources and information | Ministry of Education (external link)

Home learning TV | TVNZ  (external link)

Mauri Reo, Mauri Ora | Māori TV (external link)

COVID-19 information | Ministry of Education (external link)

Childcare services for Alert Level 4 workers

If you are working for an Alert Level 4 business or service and you have no available options for childcare, you can extend your household bubble to include a carer for your children. 

The carer can leave their home to provide childcare for your children. 

The carer cannot join another household bubble.

If you do not have available childcare

Alert Level 4 workers who have children aged up to 13 years old can access free care, so they are able to continue to provide the services we need at Alert Level 4.

The scheme is for workers in Alert Level 4 businesses and services, and other exempted services such as fire and emergency and border workers.

You can get free childcare if you do not have childcare in place — you are expected to use your own private arrangements where possible.

Access a childcare provider for workers of Alert Level 4 businesses or services (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

At Alert Levels 1 and 2, face coverings in schools and tertiary education facilities are strongly encouraged for those aged 12 and over  but they are not a requirement.

At Alert Level 3, all staff and ākonga (students) in Year 9 to Year 13 must wear a face covering when indoors.

Parents and caregivers may want to wear a face covering when dropping or picking up their tamariki (children) from school.

Tamariki (children) and ākonga (students) who are over 12 years old legally must wear a face covering on public transport. But face coverings are not needed on a school bus. 

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

COVID-19 information for students (external link)

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