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Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for NZEI Te Riu Roa members

[Last updated: 20 May 2020]

Please note, we can only give general advice online. If you need help, please contact our member support centre on nzei@nzei.org.nz or 0800 693 443. 

New Zealand is currently in Alert Level 2. Schools and early learning services are now able to be open to all students. 

Under Alert Level 2,distance learning will still be available for those who need to remain at home and Ministry staff will continue to support children with learning support needs where they are required to remain at home. 

The Ministry of Education has announced that educators across schools and early childhood services will receive one-off funding to cover their flu vaccinations undertaken between now and 30 June 2020.

The Ministry of Education has said that schools and centres with existing vaccination programmes for staff will be reimbursed, and it is working on developing a programme for those who don't.

The Government has announced the guidelines for Alert Level 2. You can read more here.

The Ministry of Health has advised that the key principles for Alert level 2 are

  • reduce the risk of someone getting infected in the first place
  • ensure we can identify and contact anyone who becomes infected
  • understand that Level 2 is not business as usual

For the latest COVID-19 guidance, please check covid19.govt.nz

All advice on this page is based on current information from Government agencies. For the most up to date information about COVID-19 and its impacts on your work, please visit the Ministry of Education website directly here.

Now more than ever is a time to pull together and support one another. Successfully eliminating COVID-19 requires all our effort! Some of this is basic – remembering to wash our hands thoroughly and regularly – and some of it has been more challenging, like self-isolation. Ultimately, we can get through this together – but we need to be careful, intentional, and remember to look after one another. 

Quick links:

Key information for Alert level 2

New Zealanders will have more freedom of movement at Alert Level 2, but it’s up to each one of us to keep the rest of New Zealand safe.

These are the most important things that you can do:

  • COVID-19 is still out there. Play it safe.
  • Keep your distance from other people in public.
  • If you’re sick, stay home. Don’t go to work or school. Don’t socialise.
  • If you have symptoms of cold or flu call your doctor or Healthline and get tested.
  • Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands.
  • Sneeze and cough into your elbow, regularly disinfect surfaces.
  • If you have been told to self-isolate you must do so immediately.
  • Keep a track of where you’ve been and who you’ve seen.

NZEI Te Riu Roa events and hui

All NZEI Te Riu Roa events and hui during the lockdown period have been cancelled, postponed, or will take place remotely. If you’re uncertain about the status of the event you were intending to attend, please contact the organiser directly. 

We are actively reviewing all of our later upcoming events and hui in light of COVID-19 and will make decisions on possible cancellations or postponements based on the Government’s guidelines for gatherings of people. Where possiblewe will endeavour to give as much notice as possible if we need to cancel or postpone events. If an event is cancelled, we will do our best to contact those affected directly. Refunds will be offered for any paid events that are cancelled.  

Key contacts

  • For overall Covid-19 information visit covid19.govt.nz
  • For additional information about how COVID-19 will affect you and education services, please check the Ministry of Education’s advice in the first instance. We have summarised their advice on key issues above, but you may find answers to your more specific questions (such as impacts for international students, or planned overseas trips), and their advice may be more up to date than ours (though we will be doing our best to keep our information current).
  • For COVID-19 clinical advice and information contact Healthline on 0800 358 5453 or +64 9 358 5453.
  • If you need to contact your public health officer, here is a list of Public Health Unit Contacts via the Ministry of Health.
  • If you’re a principal or executive officer and have questions about how COVID-19 affects the running of your school or kura, contact your local Ministry of Education regional office.
  • If you need help with COVID-19-related employment issues, contact our Member Support Centre on nzei@nzei.org.nz 0800 693 443.

Mental health support

EAPs (Employee Assistance Programmes)

Employers often sign up to employee assistance programmes as part of meeting their health and safety in employment obligations.  EAP is confidential counselling and support, delivered via counsellors nationwide – sometimes in person, but also via phone or video chat. You should check to see if your employer is signed up to a provider.  The main provider used by schools is EAP Services Limited - www.eapservices.co.nz 0800 327 669.

Community based support (phone based)

  • Anxious/depressed: text 1737 to talk to a trained counsellor 24/7
  • Depression Line: 0800 111 757
  • Alcohol and Drug Helpline: 0800 787 797
  • Family Violence info line: 0800 456 450
  • Health line: 0800 611 116
  • Lifeline Aotearoa nationwide: 0800 543 354
  • Warmline (Mental Health Peer Support): 0800 200 207
  • Victim Support: 0800 842 846
  • Outline: LGBTIQ- affirming support line and face to face counselling- 0800 688 5463
  • Suicide crisis helpline: 0508 828 865
  • Anxiety phone line: 0800 269 4389

Useful websites/ online support

COVID-19 Basics

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to a range of other illnesses such as influenza. Having any of these symptoms does not necessarily mean that you have COVID-19.

Covid-19 symptoms

I’m concerned I may have contracted the virus. What should I do?

If you have the symptoms and have recently been to a country or area of concern, or have been in close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19, please call Healthline's COVID-19 line, with translators and interpreters available 24/7 in 150 languages:

If you intend to visit your GP or after-hours medical centre, phone ahead to let them know.

More health advice and virus prevention information is available on the Ministry of Health website here: COVID-19 health advice for the public – Ministry of Health.

What should I do to minimise the risk?

Everyone, except for those working in essential services, are being asked to stay home at this time.

  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow
  • Wash hands for at least 20 seconds with water and soap and dry them thoroughly:
    • before eating or handling food
    • after using the toilet
    • after coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose or wiping children’s noses
    • after caring for sick people.

You should take particular care if you are over 70-years-old or have underlying medical conditions, such as:

  • a compromised immune system
  • liver disease
  • cancer
  • kidney disease
  • heart disease
  • diabetes mellitus
  • respiratory conditions, such as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

Go to the Ministry of Health website for more information about preventing the risk:

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) guidance – Ministry of Health

Update log

  • 20 May
    • Removed guidelines relevant to Alert Level 3
  • 12 May
    • Updated advice on move to Alert Level 2
  • 7 May
    • Added information on Alert level 2
  • 6 May
    • Updated guidance for school support staff and relievers pay in Alert level 3.
  • 28 April
    • Removed guidance relevant to Alert level 4.
  • 24 April
    • Added frequently asked questions for schools/kura and early learning services/kōhanga reo for Alert level 3.
  • 20 April
    • Updated guidance for schools/kura, early learning services/kōhanga reo and Ministry of Education staff in light of Govt announcement on 20 April.
  • 16 April
    • Added information for education in Alert level 3
  • 8 April
    • Updated advice for schools/kura support staff and relievers
    • Preparing for remote learning
  • 2 April:
    • Updated guidance for ECE day relievers
  • 30 March:
    • Updated guidance ensuring everyone working in schools or kura (particularly support staff and relievers) will continue to be paid.
  • 27 March:
    • Updated guidance from the Ministry of Education around autopay
    • General updates for better readability
  • 25 March:
    • New guidance from the Ministry of Education about support staff and school relievers
    • New key information section for support staff, relievers and early childhood
  • 23 March:
    • Updates based on the Govt's decision to close all schools and centres from midnight on Wednesday 25 March.
  • 21 March:
    • Advice that those over 70 or with underlying medical conditions should stay at home
    • Information about a new COVID-19 alert level system
    • Links to the Ministry of Education's decision-making tool for when places of learning will be closed.
  • 19 March:
  • 17 March:
    • Sick leave guidance for support staff