Please note: this page is not an official source of information for how schools, kura, kindergartens and early childhood centres should operate under the traffic light system. If any of the information on this page appears out of date or conflicts with official advice from the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Education, please follow the official guidance. 

If you are and NZEI Te Riu Roa member and you need advice on a specific matter, please contact our Member Support Centre. You can find their hours and contact details here.


A collaborative approach to health and safety


It's natural to have concerns about the health and safety impact of going to work during red light settings.  Working with your team to make a plan together is one of the best ways to mitigate some of these concerns.

Risk management is most effective when a collaborative approach is taken. Wherever you are on this journey, we have used some of the ideas from Worksafe to help put this page together.

Building a Safety Plan

Here's a simple process that you can follow with your staff and colleagues to make a plan that keeps everyone safe at work. 

Bring people together and work as a group

If there is already a health and safety rep and committee in place, they can be asked to lead this process. If there is not one, staff can simply be brought together, either online or in person, to work through a basic process. Be sure to work with your NZEI worksite rep.

Identify and define the risk(s)

It helps to be as clear about this as possible as that will help identify factors that need to be addressed. As part of this, it is important to also assess the likelihood of the risk occurring and the impact if the risk did happen for both staff and students.

Identify the possible options for mitigating or eliminating the risk

This includes identifying sources of information and support. The possible options will obviously need to take into account the public health requirements and information provided by the Ministry of Education. Options, such as wearing masks, should be specific to the risks defined above.

Develop a plan that will address the issues.

This should include assessment of effectiveness. Assess the options identified and their likely effectiveness to address specific risks. Agree who will be taking specific actions and how they will be supported if necessary. Agree how the group will monitor the identified risk(s) and the effectiveness of the plan.

Implement the plan and monitor effectiveness

Ensure that regular and effective communication amongst the group takes place to ensure that the plan is effective. If people have specific tasks, they should report progress against these.

Mental health support

With a return to higher alert levels, each of us will be responding differently. It's important that we each take care of one another and ourselves, including our mental health.

See below for some of the options available to you for mental health support:

EAP (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 - 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