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COVID-19 Update

Playschool Group’s COVID-19 Guidelines – Level 2

COVID-19 Level 2 starts from 11.59pm on Wednesday 13th May. The New Zealand Government will review Alert Level 2 restrictions on Monday 25 May.

What this means:

Will home-based Visiting Teachers be able to transition to face-to-face visits?
As a transitional arrangement, monthly visit requirements for May can continue to be met by using online methods, or by a face-to-face visit. This is because some May visits will have already taken place or be scheduled to take place using video-calling technology.  We are also aware that some families will initially require more support to be confident to accept additional people into their homes. We expect that people’s comfort levels will build as people become more familiar with operating at Alert Level 2.

Kia ora koutou

Like us, I am sure you have followed with interest the announcements made by the Prime Minister.

It is reassuring to hear how well our country has done at minimizing the impacts of COVID-19. Alert Levels 4 and 3 have not been easy and we thank you for your ongoing support for the work we are doing.

The Prime Minister advised that in Alert Level 2 early learning services, kōhanga reo, playcentres and playgroups are safe environments for children and staff and that additional public health control measures are put in place to prevent the spread of disease and to support contact tracing.

The key Public Health approach is to minimize the risk that someone gets infected in the first place, and second to ensure we can identify and contact anyone who has been in close contact with a person.

As we have done in Alert Level 3, you can be assured that in Alert Level 2 we will know who is in care, who our staff have been in close contact with and are taking appropriate measures to keep everyone safe.

Physical distancing is a good precaution to prevent the spread of disease. We do, however, know it is near impossible in an early learning homebased environment, so good hygiene practices and regular cleaning are even more important. This includes everyone coughing into their elbows, handwashing and drying and regular cleaning of commonly touched surfaces.

Under Alert Level 2, we are advising our Programme Co-Ordinator’s to stay home if they are sick. This includes you keeping us updated if anyone in your home has been sick. Note: we will need to reschedule your visit if this is the case. It is important that safe hygiene habits are practiced by everyone, as this is essential to minimize the risk that someone gets infected with Covid-19.

Our Programme Co-Ordinator’s will be practicing safe and sensible practices to maintain the health and safety of everyone they visit.  As described by Dr Payinda in his NZ Herald article, “Covid-19 is not measles or chickenpox, it doesn’t hang in the air for hours waiting to infect passers-by. It travels on invisible drops of spit. You do not have to cross the street to avoid anyone. Just avoid getting in their ‘moist breath’ zone”. We all just need to remember to have some breathing space at Alert Level 2!

For more information about the public health measures at Alert Level 2, you can visit the covid19.govt.nz website: https://covid19.govt.nz/

If you have any questions about our health and safety plan or have a child who might be vulnerable to serious illness and would like to discuss a plan for them, please contact your Programme Co-Ordinator.

We will be in touch again soon to book our visits – we look forward to catching up with you in person.

Ngā mihi

Remember – You can call the free government helpline on 0800 779 997 (8am – 1am, 7 days a week).

Key Public Health requirements at Alert Level 2

Key public health measures to be undertaken at Alert Level 2 focus on safe and sensible practice. Because young children require a lot of physical support, good hygiene practices remain central to this. Just as in Alert Level 3, there does not need to be a measurable physical distance between children or between children and staff.  

Ensure all children regularly wash and dry their hands.

  • You should actively encourage children/ tamariki to regularly wash their hands, including before and after meals. The Ministry of Health advise handwashing for at least 20 seconds, and drying hands thoroughly afterwards.  Regular routines such as washing hands after blowing noses, toileting or changing nappies should continue to be emphasized.
  • Educators should direct and supervise hand washing at a minimum of before and after eating food and going to the toilet, either through washing hands with soap and water, or use of hand sanitizer according to need. Children who are too young to wash their own hands will need to have this done for them regularly, including after having their nappy changed.

Encourage good sneezing and coughing etiquette.

  • Encourage everyone to cough and sneeze into their elbow to catch the droplets and stop them getting onto hands. More info can be found here.


Ensure that children have their own food containers and do not give and take food to and from each other. Food can be supplied in accordance with public health guidance.

  • You must ensure there is no sharing of food and drink between children. This includes birthday parties at the service, and candles should not be used.
  • You must ensure drink bottles, baby bottles, crockery and cutlery are not shared between children.
  • If continuing to provide food prepared on the premises, food handlers must adhere to standard good hygiene practices.
  • Adults must follow the same principles and ensure they are not sharing food, crockery or cutlery while having meal breaks.

Upon advice from the local medical officer of health, any home connected to a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 must isolate for 72 hours to allow contact tracing, and then potentially for a further 14 days.

  • If there is a confirmed or probable case linked with the home, health authorities will direct you of the next steps.
  • Close contacts will be required to self-isolate and will need to monitor for symptoms. In some situations, health authorities could require isolation for longer periods of time, up to 14 further days. This is likely to be because health authorities consider there could be risk of community transmission or there could be a large number of cases that mean a high proportion of children and staff could be considered close contacts and therefore need to self-isolate.
  • Any child that becomes unwell while in care must be immediately isolated and should seek medical advice about whether a child may need to be tested.
  • If anyone at the home has symptoms of a respiratory illness, you should call Healthline (0800 358 5453) for advice. A test for COVID-19 may be suggested as part of efforts to quickly detect and eliminate the virus in the community.

Close contacts in the home would be anyone who had:

  • Face-to-face contact in any setting within two metres of a case for 15 minutes or more.
  • Having been in a closed environment (e.g. hospital waiting room) within 2m of a case for 15 minutes or more.

Close contacts will be required to self-isolate and will need to monitor for symptoms.

There is information about self-isolation and Factsheets for contacts on the COVID19.govt.nz and Ministry of Health websites.  The Ministry has more information about what to do if you have a confirmed or probable case here.

Contact tracing registers must be in place to record who is in the home each day, who visits e.g. grandparents.

  • You must record the date, time, name of any person who comes into the home (Programme Co-Ordinator, child, parent/caregiver or any visitor) and ensure their phone contact details and physical addresses are included. Your timesheets could be used for this purpose.

Examples of visitors:

  • Family members visiting the home.
  • Tradespeople completing repairs in the home.
  • You must ensure any person (any visitor, tradesperson, extended family) who has flu-like symptoms do not enter the home. The Director-General of Health has indicated these are symptoms such as sore throat, cough, sneezing, blocked ears, head cold, fever or body aches.
  • You should consider limiting visitors inside the home where possible to facilitate physical distancing between adults.

Excursions:

  • Excursions are possible during Alert Level 2 providing you can meet the physical distancing requirements under Alert Level 2, that children and staff must maintain a 2m distance from others outside the service.

Children that are enrolled at multiple services:

  • Under Alert Level 2 children can resume their previous attendance at multiple services.
  • Parents need to ensure that enrolment agreements are up to date.

Other key requirements include:

Specific public health measures to be taken:

  • Parents are asked to keep any sick children at home or isolated.
  • Indoor temperature needs to be set at a minimum of 18 degrees Celsius. This minimum must be met.
  • You should ensure rooms, particularly those where children are sleeping, are well ventilated to keep the temperature at a comfortable level.
  • Young children require a lot of physical support and it is not possible to explain or maintain a physical distance between young children given the age of the children. This means good hygiene practices are even more important. There does not need to be a measurable physical distance between children or children and educator.
  • Ensure hand sanitizer is available but educators supervise its location and use.
  • Outdoor play areas can be used, including sandpits.
  • Disinfect and clean all surfaces daily. This includes soft toys and dress-ups, playdough, and finger paint.
  • Toys should be wiped down at the end of each day. Dress ups and other fabric items should be regularly laundered. Any item that has been in children’s mouths should be removed from the play space and thoroughly cleaned.
  • You should consider your procedure for ensuring children wash their hands or use hand sanitizer after playing outside, eating, toileting etc.

Disinfect and clean all surfaces daily.

  • You must ensure you have appropriate cleaning supplies, and these are stored safely out of reach of children.
  • You must ensure thorough cleaning of all surfaces takes place at the end of each operating day as a minimum. In addition, sleep furniture needs to be wiped down daily if shared.
  • Make sure the specific instructions are followed for the disinfectant being used (e.g. spray and leave on surfaces for 30 seconds before wiping down).
  • Ensure the availability of appropriate cleaning supplies (e.g. disinfectant and cloths) for cleaning of high-touch surfaces.  It is recommended that cleaning cloths are disposable.
  • You should develop a routine to disinfect and clean high touch surfaces (e.g. play gyms, tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets, sinks) regularly throughout the day. In a space with crawling infants, this will include table legs and items a child uses to pull themselves up to a standing position
  • PPE is not required or recommended, as necessary.