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Newsletter – April 2020

COVID-19 Updates

New Care Arrangements for Essential Workers

Initially, the Ministry of Education had approved 3 Home Based Care providers to continue to provide home-based childcare for essential workers with some tight restrictions around the ‘bubble’. This has since been updated and more services can now offer support.

Since our last update on the 29th March, we have been provided with new guidelines around who is able to offer support to Essential Workers and the requirements around this – The great news is that Playschool Education is now able to support you as an essential worker! The new guidelines around this clearly state that only Educators that are already registered with Playschool can become part of the scheme. Unfortunately, NO new Educators can be inducted during the lockdown.

We understand there may be some confusion as guidelines and policies are updating constantly and we are working hard to keep you updated with the most relevant information. We have seen conflicting information on social media by other Home-Based providers, however, we can confirm the information in this update is the most current after speaking directly with the MOE.

Regarding the subsidy for essential workers that the Government is offering, Playschool has been approved to access this on behalf of any essential worker’s care arrangement, however, this applies only for NEW arrangements. This does not extend to changes in any current care arrangements, i.e. increased hours because kindy/daycare is close. If you are unsure then please get in touch.

Catch Up – April 2020

Catch Up – March 2020

COVID-19 Update

We appreciate how much you have had to adjust for the New Zealand-wide lockdown. There has been a lot of information to absorb.

Key dates reminder

26 March Alert Level 4 commenced
28 MarchSchool holidays begin
10–14 April Easter including the Tuesday after Easter
15 April Term 2 begins
22 AprilCurrent date for ending of lockdown period
27 AprilANZAC Day observed

Key lockdown messages from the Prime Minister

(Select Committee Media Briefing 25 March)

  • If the virus is left unchecked, it will have an unacceptable toll on New Zealanders
  • Staying at home will break the chain and save lives
  • Breaking the rules could risk someone close to you
  • If the rules are not complied with, this could risk the lockdown period being extended or could risk the virus being spread to thousands
  • Success will not be instant. The benefit of actions taken today will not be felt for many days to come. People need to expect the numbers to continue rising because they will. Modeling indicates that New Zealand could have several thousand cases before today’s measures have an impact. However, if everyone sticks to the rules there will be change over time
  • Act like you have COVID-19. Every move you make could be a risk to someone else. That is how New Zealanders must collectively think now
  • All New Zealanders urged to be calm, be kind, stay at home 
  • If people have no explanation of why they are outside the Police will remind them of their obligations and can take enforcement actions if they feel it is necessary
  • New Zealanders will want to do the right thing. The Government is being as clear as they can on the guidance and Police will be working with people to help them understand
  • The Government’s goal is to keep people connected to their employer through the wage subsidy and said if that was not happening then they have the backup mechanism of the welfare system
  • In regard to those overseas – even under the most difficult of circumstances New Zealand is their home.

Supervision and care of children 

The availability of supervision and care in licensed home-based services aims to strike a balance between the availability of care and public health guidance – in particular, advice to limit all means of transmission of infection. We have had a number of questions come through seeking clarification relating to the provision of in-home care arrangements for non-essential workers.

There are two possible scenarios, each with their own conditions:

Scenario 1 – ‘Bubble of care’ – Both non-essential workers and essential workers are able to use existing in-home care arrangements, with conditions

Families that have an Au Pair living with them are able to continue with care to support parents working from home.
Families with an Educator who does not live with them may choose to form a self-isolation group and continue care to support parents working from home.

  • The arrangement had to be in place before midnight Wednesday 25 March
  • The carer (and their family) plus the non-essential worker and their family become ‘one’ self-isolation group
  • The self-isolation group needs to be as tight as possible
  • The group must remain the same for the lockdown period

Scenario 2 – Essential workers can access new home-based care with conditions

If you are an essential worker needing to arrange child care please contact Playschool to arrange this.

  • The person caring for the child becomes part of the self-isolating group
  • This group must remain the same for the whole period
  • The carer must not care for children from other households (other than their own) over the same period

If a child or carer becomes unwell, they must stay at home.

Playschool Education is still available to help support learning at home. They are working from home as their circumstances allow and you can reach them through their usual contact details. They are there to support you and parents during the home isolation period. Like you, they may also be balancing caring for their own whānau with their work, so please bear with them. Playschool Education is preparing and tailoring material and resources for children and whānau with varying needs, where possible in collaboration with our early learning service. Where appropriate we’re delivering support virtually – for example, connecting by messenger and skype, to have an ongoing discussion and develop some next steps. During this period of learning at home, Playschool Education are already involved with children, whānau and kaiako and will continue to check in to provide virtual guidance and support as necessary at this time. This will involve listening carefully and adapting our support to meet current needs. While this may look different from the support we usually provide, we’ll continue to work with you to support the child’s daily routines.

Learning Support Resources

There are many online resources already available. You would have also received more support from your Visiting Teacher.  

Childcare Subsidy from Work and Income

This subsidy is a payment that helps families with the cost of preschool childcare. Usually, the subsidy is based on a child’s attendance at an early learning service. 

24 March the Education Council indicated that these payments would continue throughout the lockdown period, but you may have received advice from elsewhere that this is not the case.

We recommend that you get in touch with Work and Income if you have any queries relating to this payment. Please note that currently their contact centre is overloaded, and they are requesting that you contact only if absolutely necessary at this time.


Videos from the Office of Ethnic Communities

The Office of Ethnic Communities (OEC) has put together some videos that will be helpful to share. These videos are in a number of languages so that people in ethnic communities, where English is not their main language, can receive updates regarding COVID-19 in their own language. 

And lastly, as the Prime Minister has said – ‘Be Kind’.