COVID-19: Preparing for Alert Level 2

Advice for whānau about transitioning to Alert Level 2.

Students back at early learning and schools at Alert Level 2

Children and young people are expected to be back at schools and early learning services under Alert Level 2. Getting back into their schooling routine, and seeing their friends and teachers again are good for their learning; as well as for their social, emotional and mental wellbeing.

Alert Level 2 – Covid19.govt.nz

Schools and early learning services are safe to attend and additional public health measures are in place.

Read Emily Writes’ article: On coming ‘home’ to school and our community – thespinoff.co.nz

If your child is unable to attend because they are sick, have COVID-19 symptoms, have certain underlying medical conditions, are in isolation or waiting for their COVID-19 test result, please contact your early learning service or school immediately to discuss your situation and how your child’s learning can be supported. 

Alert Level 2 information for parents and whānau (NZSL)

Read the transcript: Alert Level 2 information for parents and whānau (NZSL)

New Zealand is currently at Alert Level 3.  On 11 May, the Prime Minister announced that New Zealand will move to Alert Level 2 from Thursday 14 May.

Under Alert Level 2 schools and early learning services are safe to attend. Children and young people should return to schools and early learning services to continue their learning.

Play it safe and sensible

Talk with your children about why it is important to play it safe while they’re at their early learning service or school

Under Alert Level 2 COVID-19 is still out there, but it’s contained. Schools and early learning services are safe to attend as public health measures will be followed.  Children and young people will return to school and early learning services to continue their learning unless they are sick, have COVID-19 symptoms, are in isolation or waiting for a test result. 

Good hygiene practice everywhere is key – wash and dry your hands often, cough or sneeze in to your elbow and clean surfaces regularly. 

There are two key principles for Alert Level 2. The first is to reduce the risk of someone getting COVID-19 in the first place. Secondly, if someone in a school or early learning service does get COVID-19 it’s important that we are able to identify and contact anyone who has been in close contact with that person. 

Welcoming your child back to early learning/school

Schools and early learning services are preparing to welcome your child back. Your child’s wellbeing will be the top priority.  We know that your child needs to feel comfortable and safe for learning to happen.

It’s important that children and young people return to their school or early learning service. Your school will be in contact as they work through their plans for Alert Level 2.   

Children with learning support needs should return to school or early learning. Talk to your school or early learning service if you have concerns about how your child’s needs will be met.

Return to classroom learning

Your school and early learning service will have public health measures in place including hygiene, cleaning, and regular cleaning of high touch surfaces and equipment.

Your school and early learning service will also collect information about who’s on their site so public health officials can contact people quickly if needed.

School transport will resume. Before and after school programmes, as well as OSCAR programmes will be available.

If your child is in tertiary education

Under Alert level 2, all on-site activities at tertiary education facilities can resume, such as classes, lectures, labs, workshops, tutorials, noho, and meetings, as long as providers meet a range of public health control measures for tertiary organisations, including contact tracing.

However, students who are at greater risk of getting a severe illness from COVID-19 are encouraged to continue to learn remotely.

Talk to your child

Help prepare your child to transition back to daily school life. Remind them that COVID-19 is still out there so it’s important that they play it safe and sensible.  Let them know that some things will be different as their early learning service or school will have some new measures in place. 

 People are more likely to get COVID-19 through touching their face with their hands.  Emphasise to your child the importance of good hygiene at all times – wash and dry your hands often, cough and sneeze into your elbow, and don’t touch your face. 

 Talk to your child about physical distancing in schools. Remind them to make sure they give people ‘breathing space’, so they aren’t so close they can feel someone else’s breath.  

Learn from home if needed

Children and young people should return to schools and early learning services to continue their learning. Learning from home will continue for those who children who need it, including: 

  • Children with certain underlying medical conditions
  • Children and young people in isolation
  • Children and young people waiting for a test result

Talk to your child’s teacher if they need to learn from home.

Our distance learning resources are still available for those who need it.

More information will be available

The Government COVID-19 website and our education website are constantly updated with the latest information, please make sure to check them:

Government COVID-19 website

Ministry of Education COVID-19 page

Play it safe

Talk with your children about why it is important to play it safe while they’re at their early learning service or school.

Under Alert Level 2 COVID-19 is still out there, but it’s contained. Schools and early learning services are safe to attend as public health measures will be followed. 

Children and young people will return to school and early learning services to continue their learning unless they are sick, have COVID-19 symptoms, are in isolation or waiting for a test result. 

Under Alert Level 2:

  • It is safe to send your children to schools and early learning services.
  • Good hygiene practice everywhere is key – wash and dry your hands often, cough or sneeze in to your elbow and clean surfaces regularly.

Read the transcript: How to wash your hands NHS song (National Health Service)

*Video courtesy of UK NHS - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9VjeIWLnEg

This video helps make the proper hand-washing technique more memorable for little hands.

So wet those hands and apply some soap!

It’s time for my big song!

[Singing begins]

Rub the palms – one two

Rub the knuckles – one two

Rub the insides of your fingers and the back of them too

Rub the thumbs – one two

And the nails – one two

Now time to rinse

Happy clean hands for you!

[Singing ends] 

There are two key principles for Alert Level 2

The first is to reduce the risk of someone getting COVID-19 in the first place.

Secondly, if someone in a school or early learning service does get COVID-19 it’s important that we are able to identify and contact anyone who has been in close contact with that person. 

Public health measures in place at early learning services and schools – Education.govt.nz

Welcoming your child back to early learning/school

Schools and early learning services are preparing to welcome your child back. Your child’s wellbeing will be the top priority. 

We know that your child needs to feel comfortable and safe for learning to happen.

It’s important that children and young people return to their school or early learning service. It is safe to send your child back to their school or early learning service. They will be in contact as they work through their plans for Alert Level 2.   

Children with learning support needs should return to school or early learning.

Talk to your school or early learning service if you have concerns about how your child’s needs will be met.

Advice for parents and whānau with children with learning support needs – Education.govt.nz

Return to classroom learning

Your school and early learning service will have public health measures in place including hygiene, cleaning, and regular cleaning of high touch surfaces and equipment.

Your school and early learning service will also collect information about who’s on their site so public health officials can contact people quickly if needed.

School transport will resume.Before and after school programmes, as well as OSCAR programmes will be available.

Alert Level 2 FAQs – Education.govt.nz

Wellbeing tips

It can be scary hearing about COVID-19 and what’s happening around the world. Your children will look to you for guidance and support. We have developed three age-appropriate tip sheets to help you talk with your children and work through common challenges and behaviours that might have changed during alert levels 3 and 4.

Tips for parents – toddlers

Tips for parents – children

Tips for parents – young people

Wellbeing tips in Te Reo Māori and Pacific languages

Children with disabilities

Awhi@home is a parent-led Facebook page supported by IHC and partners including the Ministry of Education and Explore services. It provides support for parents with disabled children and posts include tools, resources and videos addressing common challenges.

The page aims to help you, as a parent of a disabled child, by providing strategies and tips, links to useful resources, information on COVID-19 and one-on-one support as needed:

Go to Awhi@home on Facebook 

If your child is in tertiary education

Under Alert level 2, all on-site activities at tertiary education facilities can resume, such as classes, lectures, labs, workshops, tutorials, noho, and meetings, as long as providers meet a range of public health control measures for tertiary organisations, including contact tracing.

However, students who are at greater risk of getting a severe illness from COVID-19 are encouraged to continue to learn remotely.

Advice for tertiary students – Education.govt.nz

Talk to your child

Help prepare your child to transition back to daily school life. Remind them that COVID-19 is still out there so it’s important that they play it safe and sensible. 

Let them know that some things will be different as their early learning service or school will have some new measures in place. 

People are more likely to get COVID-19 through touching their face with their hands.  

Emphasise to your child the importance of good hygiene at all times – wash and dry your hands often, cough and sneeze into your elbow, and don’t touch your face. 

Talk to your child about physical distancing in schools. Where practicable they should try and keep a metre’s distance. 

Remind them to make sure they give people ‘breathing space’, and that children should not be breathing on or touching each other. 

Read the transcript: Moist Breath Zone (Shirley Serban) 

*Video courtesy of Shirley Serban - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZvtoVrykb8

[Song begins]

 

We’re back at school, it’s really cool

To all be here together

We made it through and I missed you

The country’s getting better

 

But sorry, no high five or hug

Let’s wait a little longer

Till we can beat that Covid bug

Being careful makes us stronger

 

I’m glad to see you but please leave me alone

If you need to cough, use your elbow

When you’re feeling sick – you gotta stay at home

And stay out of my moist breath zone!

 

I’ll share my news, but my food’s for me alone

If I smell your breath, I will go sit on my own

Always wash your hands – make them soapy, full of foam

And stay out of my moist breath zone!

 

If I can smell the tuna bake

You had for tea last night

Then I’m way too close to your face

I’ll move to make it right

 

I like to hear you sing a song

But I don’t like your spit

So be a good sport – keep us strong

By moving back a bit!

 

I’m glad to see you but please leave me alone

If you need to cough, use your elbow

When you’re feeling sick – you gotta stay at home

And stay out of my moist breath zone!

 

I’ll share my news, but my food’s for me alone

If I smell your breath, I will go sit on my own

Always wash your hands – make them soapy, full of foam

And stay out of my moist breath zone!

 

I like to tackle and play rough

Outside when it’s break time

But now that’s not quite safe enough

Don’t touch and we’ll be fine

 

I know you love my company

But I need my own space

You’re not my shadow, stuck to me

Please get out of my face!

 

I’m glad to see you but please leave me alone

If you need to cough, use your elbow

When you’re feeling sick – you gotta stay at home

And stay out of my moist breath zone!

 

I’ll share my news, but my food’s for me alone

If I smell your breath, I will go sit on my own

Always wash your hands – make them soapy, full of foam

And stay out of my moist breath zone!

Just stay out of my moist breath zone!

[Song ends]

[Text appears on video]

“Covid’s not measles or chickenpox, it doesn’t hand in the air for hours waiting to infect passers-by. It travels on invisible drops of spit. You don’t have to cross the street to avoid anyone. Just avoid getting in their ‘moist breath’ zone.” – Dr Gary Payinda, NZ Herald 1 May 2020

Read the checklist below to help you prepare for the transition to Alert level 2:

Parent checklist – prepare for Alert Level 2

Parent checklist – prepare for Alert Level 2 (downloadable version) [DOCX, 46 KB] [DOCX, 46 KB]

Learn from home if needed

Children and young people should return to schools and early learning services to continue their learning.

Learning from home will continue for those who children who need it, including:

Talk to your child’s teacher if they need to learn from home. Our distance learning resources are still available for those who need it:

Distance Learning – Ministry of Education

Preparing for Alert Level 2 in other languages

Te reo Māori

Te reo Māori Kuki 'Āirani [PDF, 459 KB]

Vosa vaka Fiti [PDF, 287 KB]

I-Kiribati [PDF, 454 KB]

Vagahau Niue [PDF, 482 KB]

Fäeag Rotuma [PDF, 264 KB]

Gagana Samoa [PDF, 256 KB]

Pijin (Solomon Island) [PDF, 523 KB]

Gagana Tokelau [PDF, 462 KB]

Lea faka Tonga [PDF, 465 KB]

Te' Gana Tuvalu [PDF, 458 KB]

Checklist for parents to prepare for Alert Level 2

Children and young people will return to early learning services and school during Alert Level 2.

Talk to your children about what to expect as they go back to daily school life.

Talk with your children about why it is important to play it safe while they’re at their early learning service or school.

Play it safe

  • Children should be going to their early learning service or school. 
  • Hand-washing is the most important thing your children can do to keep everybody safe – try and make regular hand-washing fun by using a favourite song they can wash their hands to. 
  • Remind your children that we always wash our hands before eating, playing outside, after playing sports or with others, and after touching hard surfaces.
  • If your child is sick, they should stay at home. Children who arrive at school or a centre sick will be sent home.
  • Talk to your early learning service or school if you have any questions.

If your child needs to stay at home

  • Your child should only stay at home if they are at greater risk of getting severe illness from COVID-19, in isolation, or awaiting test results.
  • Contact your early learning or school to discuss ongoing support for home learning.
  • More information about distance learning is available below:

Distance Learning – Ministry of Education

Younger children

  • We want everybody to be happy and well, and they can help do that. 
  • Make hand-washing fun! Sing songs – let your child pick their own song. Show them a video about hand-washing.
  • Explain to your child that if our own hands are not clean, we can make ourselves sick. Remind them that we always wash our hands before eating, playing outside, playing with others, and after playing on hard surfaces.
  • Talk to your child about playing safe when they’re with their friends. Explain to them the importance of making sure they give others ‘breathing space’ - not to be so close to others that they can breathe on or touch other children.
  • Explain to your child that they will need to eat their own food, and drink their own drinks; sharing food or drinks may make our own hands not clean and then we can make ourselves sick.
  • We want everybody in New Zealand to be well, and they can help do that.

For school-aged children

  • Remind them about sensible and safe distancing. Talk to your child about making sure they give others ‘breathing space’. Remind them not to be so close they can breathe on or touch other children.
  • Explain to your child that if our own hands are not clean we can make ourselves sick. Make regular hand-washing fun – use a favourite song or game.  Show them a video about hand-washing.
  • Remind your child to always wash their hands before eating, playing outside, playing with others, after sporting activities, after playing on hard surfaces including outdoor play areas.
  • Explain to your child that they should not share their lunch or any other food and drink.
  • Let your child know that they will see more cleaning of their school and their classroom. 
  • Explain to your child that some children may choose to wear face masks. It might be part of their cultural practice to do so or to support their hygiene needs. Encourage them to respect other people’s choices.

For older children, remind them to play it safe and socialise safely

  • Remind them about safe and sensible distancing. Talk to them about how they give others ‘breathing space’ – not being close enough to feel other people’s breath.   
  • Remind young people to socialise with people they know. When they are out in public, they need to try and keep to 2 metres between people they don’t know.
  • Remind your young person that keeping track of where they’ve been and who they’ve met will be important to help keep all New Zealanders safe. Their actions can help keep others safe as it helps with contact tracing.
  • Remind your child that some young people may choose to wear face masks. It may be part of their cultural practice to do so or to support their hygiene needs. Encourage them to respect others’ choices.

Parent checklist – prepare for Alert Level 2 (downloadable version) [DOCX, 46 KB]

Checklist for parents to prepare for Alert Level 2 (NZSL)

 

Read the transcript: Checklist for parents to prepare for Alert Level 2 (NZSL)

Children and young people will return to early learning services and school during Alert Level 2. Talk to your children about what to expect as they go back to daily school life. 
Talk with your children about why it is important to play it safe while they’re at their early learning service or school
Play it safe and sensible:
  • Children should be going to their early learning service or school.  
  • Hand-washing is the most important thing your children can do to keep everybody safe – try and make regular hand-washing fun by using a favourite song they can wash their hands to.  
  • Remind your children that we always wash our hands before eating, playing outside, after playing sports or with others, and after touching hard surfaces.
  • If your child is sick, they should stay at home. Children who arrive at school or a centre sick will be sent home.
  • Talk to your early learning service or school if you have any questions.
If your child needs to stay at home:
  • Your child should only stay at home if they are at greater risk of getting severe illness from Covid-19, in isolation, or awaiting test results.
  • Contact your early learning or school to discuss ongoing support for home learning.
Younger children:
  • We want everybody to be happy and well, and they can help do that.
  • Make hand-washing fun!  Sing songs – let your child pick their own song, Show them a video about hand-washing.
  • Explain to your child that if our own hands are not clean we can make ourselves sick.  Remind them that we always wash our hands before eating, playing outside, playing with others, and after playing on hard surfaces.
  • Talk to your child about playing safe when they’re with their friends. Explain to them the importance of making sure they give others ‘breathing space’ - not to be so close to others that they can breathe on or touch other children.
  • Explain to your child that they will need to eat their own food, and drink their own drinks; sharing food or drinks may make our own hands not clean and then we can make ourselves sick.
For school-aged children:
  • We want everybody in New Zealand to be well, and they can help do that.
  • Remind them about sensible and safe distancing.  Talk to your child about making sure they give others ‘breathing space’.  Remind them not to be so close they can breathe on or touch other children.
  • Explain to your child that if our own hands are not clean we can make ourselves sick.  Make regular hand-washing fun – use a favourite song or game.  Show them a video about hand-washing.
  • Remind your child to always wash their hands before eating, playing outside, playing with others, after sporting activities, after playing on hard surfaces including outdoor play areas.
  • Explain to your child that they should not share their lunch or any other food and drink. 
  • Let your child know that they will see more cleaning of their school and their classroom.  
  • Explain to your child that some children may choose to wear face masks. It might be part of their cultural practice to do so or to support their hygiene needs. Encourage them to respect other people’s choices.
For older children, remind them to play it safe and socialise safely:
  • Remind them about safe and sensible distancing.  Talk to them about how they give others ‘breathing space’ – not being close enough to feel other people’s breath.    
  • Remind young people to socialise with people they know. When they are out in public, they need to try and keep to 2 metres between people they don’t know.
  • Remind your young person that keeping track of where they’ve been and who they’ve met will be important to help keep all New Zealanders safe.  Their actions can help keep others safe as it helps with contact tracing.
  • Remind your child that some young people may choose to wear face masks. It may be part of their cultural practice to do so or to support their hygiene needs. Encourage them to respect others’ choices. 

Checklist for parents to prepare for Alert Level 2 in other languages

Te reo Māori [PDF, 297 KB]

Te reo Māori Kuki 'Airani [PDF, 582 KB]

Arabic [PDF, 102 KB]

Brazilian Portuguese [PDF, 71 KB]

Burmese [PDF, 184 KB]

Dari [PDF, 152 KB]

Fäeag Rotuma [PDF, 779 KB]

Farsi [PDF, 101 KB]

Gagana Samoa [PDF, 614 KB]

Gagana Tokelau [PDF, 590 KB]

Hindi [PDF, 202 KB]

I-Kiribati [PDF, 505 KB]

Japanese [PDF, 222 KB]

Korean [PDF, 302 KB]

lea faka Tonga [PDF, 600 KB]

Punjabi [PDF, 175 KB]

Simplified Chinese [PDF, 123 KB]

Solomon Islands Pijin [PDF, 505 KB]

Somali [PDF, 72 KB]

Spanish [PDF, 71 KB]

Tagalog [PDF, 72 KB]

Te 'gana Tuvalu [PDF, 589 KB]

Tigrinya [PDF, 147 KB]

Traditional Chinese [PDF, 407 KB]

Vagahau Niue [PDF, 505 KB]

Vosa Vaka Viti [PDF, 507 KB]

More information will be available

This website, the Government COVID-19 website and our education website are constantly updated with the latest information, please make sure to check them:

Parents’ website

Government COVID-19 information

Ministry of Education COVID-19 information

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