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

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Education information at Alert Level 2

At Alert Level 2, Early Learning Centres, schools and tertiary education facilities are open.

If an educational facility is connected to a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19, it must close for 72 hours to allow for contact tracing, and then potentially for a further 14 days.

Children or young people must stay home if they:

  • are unwell
  • have COVID-19 symptoms
  • are self-isolating
  • are waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test.

Distance learning will be available for any students not able to attend school.

Early learning services and schools

All Early Learning Centres and schools are physically open including for Years 11 to 13. Distance learning will be available for those who cannot attend school, for example where people are self-isolating.

Early Learning Centres and schools are safe environments for children, young people and staff. Additional public health control measures are in place to prevent the spread of disease and to support contact tracing.

Checklist for parents

Parents and caregivers can use the Ministry of Education’s checklist to help prepare children and young people for school. The checklist has information about playing it safe, what to do if your child needs to stay home, and advice for children at different ages.

Checklist for parents to prepare for Alert Level 2 on the Ministry of Education website (external link)

Tertiary education

Tertiary education facilities are open.

Tertiary education is a safe environment for students and staff to return to at Alert Level 2. Tertiary education facilities will implement public health requirements and physical distancing and will provide a safe environment where students can continue their learning. They will maintain distance learning capability for staff and students who need it.

Workplace-based learning will follow the rules that apply to the relevant industry.

Education information at Alert level 3

Early learning, primary and secondary schools

Under Alert Level 3 it will be safe for Early Learning/Education Centres and schools to open for children up to and including Year 10, with appropriate public health measures in place. All young people in Years 11–13 will continue to learn at home.

Where possible, students should remain at home and continue distance learning. Where parents or caregivers need to, they can send their children to school. Schools will be a safe place for children to go to learn if their parents need to return to work, or the children cannot learn at a distance.

Schools and Early Learning/Education Centres will contact parents as they work through their plans for re-opening.

Home-based early learning services can resume up to the maximum number of licensed children of 4, including the educators’ own children, provided they meet public health requirements.

Play centres and playgroups will be closed.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) like gloves and masks are not necessary for a school environment. Children, young people and staff who are at greater risk should stay at home. Any child, young person or staff member who is sick should remain at home.

Some Schools and Early Learning Services may need extra time to get ready to open after we go to Alert Level 3.

Schools will look different under Alert Level 3. There will be far fewer students on the grounds, and they will stay within their small groups. The small groups will help to maintain physical distancing.

Some teachers will be teaching students at school, while others will support distance learning. For those small number of children attending school, the learning experience will be different to “normal” school.

Universities and tertiary education

Tertiary education will be provided online. Certain small groups can work together at tertiary institutions.

Student accommodation will remain open for students who require it.

For details please contact your education provider or go to the Ministry of Education website.

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

Ministry of Education advice for tertiary students (external link)

Education information at Alert Level 4

Educational providers, including all schools, will be closed while New Zealand is at Alert Level 4. Schools and students have been supported with distance learning resources since Term 2 began on 15 April.

Schools are providing information about what this means directly to parents.

Schools and early childhood

Term 2 began by distance on 15 April. Every learner in New Zealand has at least one way to access education, even if they do not have a device or an internet connection at home.

The Ministry of Education is working to increase the number of students who have internet access and devices. Hard copy learning resources are available to students without internet access.

Two television channels are broadcasting free to air content for children and students who find it tricky to learn online, or who don’t have hard pack learning resources.

Home Learning/Papa Kāinga TV is available for children and young people aged 0 to 15. It airs 9am to 3pm on schooldays across channels TVNZ 2+1, TVNZ on Demand, and Sky Channel 502. Content includes play, literacy, mathematics, science, te reo Māori, physical education and wellbeing.

Māori Television content focuses on learning at home for tamariki, rangatahi and whānau, aged from 0 to 18. It is tailored to specific age groups during the day, with learning content tamariki can do on their own, with siblings or as a whānau.

Learning from home (external link)

Ki to Ao Mārama (external link)

Ministry of Education (external link)

Make sure children are safe and cared for

If you’re worried that a child or young person you know isn't safe or being cared for, or you know a child who has been separated from their parents or caregivers, contact Oranga Tamariki.

Phone: 0508 326 459, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

If you're caring for a child who is immunocompromised there's more information about how you can care for them from the Ministry of Health.

Ministry of Health general health advice (external link)

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