COVID-19: Preparing for Alert Level 3

New Zealand remains at Alert Level 3. On 7 May, the Prime Minister announced what Alert Level 2 will look like for education services. And on 11 May, she will announce whether New Zealand will move to Alert Level 2, or remain at Alert Level 3. We will continue to provide more information to parents as these decisions are announced.

Note: New Zealand will transition to Alert Level 2 at 11:59 pm on 13 May 2020. Find out more:

COVID-19: Preparing for Alert Level 2

We need to continue to work together as a country in order to address the high risk of ongoing transmission of Covid-19.

We’re all in this together

New Zealand is now at Alert Level 3, and Cabinet will review this alert level on 11 May. Under Alert Level 3, we will continue to have restrictions on our activities. We still want the vast majority of people working from home, and children and young people learning from home. If you are not at work, school, exercising or getting essentials like food, including takeaways, then you should stay home – the same as at Alert Level 4.

Alert Level 3 – covid19.govt.nz

Under Alert Level 3 you can extend your bubble – but keep it small and tight. If needed, you can bring people into your bubble who can support you to work or can supervise learning from home.

We acknowledge that this has been challenging for all of us. We will get through this together. Stay connected, and be kind to yourself and others. Your early learning service, school or kura, as well as the Ministry of Education, will be doing all we can to support you and your children at this time.

Alert Level 3 - New Zealand Sign Language

Video transcript 

New Zealand is now at Alert Level 3.

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 services are looking out for everybody’s health and safety by having ‘school bubbles’. Expect school to be different. Your child may not be in the same classroom or have the same teacher, and start and finish times may change. Some activities may not be offered such as sports or technology classes. Food services may not be available.

Your child’s teacher will lead their learning, and is your partner in learning from home. Your children will continue to get the support they need if teachers find gaps in their learning. Stay connected with your teachers and let them know if you have concerns.

We are also available to assist students with learning support needs, whether at home, or inside the classroom or service, under Alert Level 3.

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, or who are unwell, should stay at home.

Education of students in Years 11 to 13 will continue remotely, as will most tertiary education.

More information on distance learning and what Level 3 means for early learning services and schools is available on our website.

Students and parents with any queries about distance learning should contact their school or kura.

We will provide a further update on what Level 2 will mean for schooling when the Government makes its decision on the next steps on 11 May.

Stay home, stay learning

Physical distancing and limiting contact to people within your extended bubble are still needed as part of our public health response to Covid-19. Under Alert Level 3 children and their parents are expected to work and learn from home if they can. 

Children can continue to learn through Home Learning TV, learning from home hard packs, and through the Learning from Home and Ki te Ao Mārama websites.

Information on distance learning

Your child’s teacher will lead their learning, and is your partner in learning from home. Your children will continue to get the support they need if teachers find gaps in their learning. Stay connected with your teachers and let them know if you have concerns.

We are also available to assist students with learning support needs, whether at home, or inside the classroom or service, under Alert Level 3.

Advice for parents and whānau with children with learning support needs

Early learning services and schools will open for those who need them

Some parents and caregivers may need to physically return to work.  Under Alert Level 3 you can expand your household bubble a bit, to bring in people who can support you to work or care for your children at home.

Early learning services and schools are expected to physically open for up to Year 10 while Years 11-13 will continue to learn at home. Make sure you keep in touch with your early learning service or school as part of your planning.  

Playcentres and playgroups will not reopen in Level 3. Home based care, education and supervision of young children can resume, at Level 3, for a maximum of four children, with appropriate public health measures in place.  Residential and special schools will not reopen, at least in the early stages of Level 3. And before and after-school services will not be available under Alert Level 3.  

Schools and early learning services are working through details that ensure all children continue to have access to learning and that education can safely operate in line with public health guidelines.

Your child’s early learning service, school or kura will be working closely with the Ministry of Education and public health officials to develop their own plans for re-opening under Alert Level 3. Some may need longer to re-open and they will be in contact with you to let you know about their plans. 

Schools and early learning services will need timely and regular advice about the children who will physically attend or need transport. For those needing to return to work, you will be asked to advise your school or early learning service if your children need to physically attend. Please respond promptly, so they can complete their detailed planning.

Schools and early learning services are planning for everybody’s health and safety by having ‘school bubbles’. Expect school to be different. Your child may not be in the same classroom or have the same teacher, and start and finish times may change. Some activities may not be offered such as sports or technology classes. Food services may not be available.

Public health officials have advised that early learning, schools and kura up to Year 10 are safe to open under Alert Level 3 because they are controlled environments. This means they can put in place measures that ensure appropriate distancing, additional hygiene and contact tracing.

Alert Level 3 information on education – covid19.govt.nz

Watch again: Video session with Dr Ashley Bloomfield

Live with Dr Ashley Bloomfield

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield and Secretary for Education Iona Holsted are live answering your questions about COVID-19 and education.

Posted by Ministry of Education NZ on Monday, 20 April 2020

Transcript

All children and young people who are at greater risk of getting a severe illness from Covid-19 should stay home and continue to learn from home.

Please stay regional. Only travel within and between regions if needed, such as going to work or taking children to school.

Stay home, if you or your child are sick. If a child comes to school or a centre sick, they will be sent home. Please also avoid public transport travel if you or your child are sick, awaiting results of a Covid-19 test, or have been recommended to self-isolate.

If your child is in tertiary education

Under Alert Level 3 tertiary education facilities are expected to only be open for limited activities. Distance learning will continue for most students.

Advice for tertiary students

Parents also need to plan

You will know what will work best for your children and your whānau’s health, wellbeing and circumstances. You can extend your bubble under Alert Level 3 but keep it small and tight. Bring people into your bubble who can support you to work or can supervise learning from home.

Parent Checklist – prepare for Alert Level 3

Parent Checklist – prepare for Alert Level 3 (downloadable version) [DOCX, 45 KB]

Remember to stay home, be kind, and share responsibilities with others. Continue to support learning from home where possible, and stay united.  We’re a team of 5 million and will get through this together. He waka eke noa.

Visit our Covid-19 pages for further information that may be helpful to your planning:

Advice for students, parents and whānau

Advice for parents and whānau with children with learning support needs

Checklist for parents to prepare for Alert Level 3

Keep safe

  • Stay home if you or your child are sick. Children who arrive at school or a centre sick will be sent home.
  • An at-risk child should learn from home.
  • Do not use public transport if you or your child are sick.

Share responsibility

Continue to work and learn from home if you can.

If you are returning to work:

  • Keep your bubble small.  Bring whānau into your bubble who can support you to return to work or supervise your children to learn from home.
  • Only include people that will keep you and them safe and well. 

If your child needs to return to school, your school needs to plan.  They will be in contact to

  • Confirm when the school or centre will re-open.
  • Confirm your child’s attendance.
  • Confirm if you need to use transport.
  • Confirm pick-up and drop-off times.

Check whether your child needs to bring along a lunchbox or snacks.

If sending your child back to school or early learning

Good hygiene matters.

  • Remind your child that they are expected to follow good hygiene practices - wash and dry hands regularly, cough into their elbow, don’t touch their face, and use hand sanitiser.
  • Let your child know that they will see more cleaning of their school and their classroom. 
  • Talk to your child about why it is important that they do not share any food or drinks with others at school.
  • If asked about people wearing face masks, let your child know that some children and young people may choose to wear these. It might be part of their cultural practice to do so or to support their hygiene needs. Encourage them to respect others choices.

On the way to the school or centre site:

  • Explain to your child why it’s important that they must arrive at school and leave the school grounds at their allotted time.
  • If you drop your child off to school, let them know you may have to drop them off and let them enter the school site on their own. Explain to them that the school or centre will only allow essential visitors on-site.
  • If applicable, talk to them about the 1 metre rule on their school transport.

Early learning or school will not be the same.

  • Talk to your child about school bubbles. Let your child know they will not be going back to their usual classroom. They may be in a different classroom, and be with different children.
  • Let them know their classroom may be set up differently.
  • Let them know that they will be expected to sit in the same place each day they attend (and that no one will sit in their seat if they are away for the day), and why this is important (contact tracing).
  • Talk to them about the school bubble rules – 1 metre physical distancing, washing their hands often, and sticking to their school bubble, and not mixing with other school bubbles.
  • Remind your child they need to stay 2 metres away from other children not in their school bubble. 
  • Let them know they may be able to connect up online with their usual class as part of distance learning.
  • Remind them that playgrounds will not be able to be used.
  • Let your child know that the 2 metre rule applies to any physical education or break time activities including sports.

If your child continues learning from home

Your child’s teacher will lead their learning at home.  Continue to stay connected with them to see what they have prepared for the day or week.

Check the Home Learning TV | Papa Kāinga TV schedules. Note the times of segments that may interest your child. The channel is free to air, on TVNZ channel 2+1 and on TVNZ on Demand, as well as on Sky Channel 502.

Where possible, plan your day or week with your child and whānau. Consider:

  • a whānau routine
  • what everyone will do together, or do on their own.

Stay connected with your child’s teacher and let them know if you have questions or concerns.

More information will be available

Your school, kura or early learning will be working on their own planning, and they will be in touch with you once they know how they will manage a move to Alert Level 3.

Our regional staff continue to support individual schools and centres to develop and put in place their plans. This will include support to provide information to parents and caregivers, and an information campaign across broadcast, online and radio channels.

This page, 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

Information to help with your planning at Alert Level 3 in other languages

Te reo Māori Kuki 'Āirani [DOCX, 38 KB]

Vosa vaka Viti [DOCX, 29 KB]

I-Kiribati [DOCX, 28 KB]

Vagahau Niue [DOCX, 34 KB]

Fäeag Rotuma [DOCX, 33 KB]

Gagana Samoa [DOCX, 27 KB]

Pijin (Solomon Island) [DOCX, 27 KB]

Gagana Tokelau [DOCX, 39 KB]

Lea faka Tonga [DOCX, 28 KB]

Te' Gana Tuvalu [DOCX, 36 KB]

Last reviewed: Has this been useful? Tell us what you think.