Overview 

On Monday 11 October 2021, the government advised that all staff and workers who may have contact with children and students in schools and kura throughout the country (regardless of COVID-19 Alert Level) will be required to have their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by 15 November 2021 and be fully vaccinated by 1 January 2022.

The Public Health Response Order was published on 25 October 2021, and further guidance has continually been provided via the Ministry Bulletin for School Leaders. Information for all Ministry suppliers has also been published on Education.govt.nz – Advice for Ministry Suppliers.

From 1 January 2022, education services must only allow those that are fully vaccinated to provide onsite services during opening hours.

This includes:

  • principals and teachers
  • relief teachers and casual staff
  • administration staff
  • caretakers and cleaners
  • contractors, including PLD facilitators, and tradespeople
  • service managers
  • caregivers and other staff

The vaccination requirements also apply wherever in-person schooling occurs, such as on the kura, school, kōhanga reo, or early learning service site, but also at school camps, swimming pools, museums, or where other education outside the classroom (EOTC) programmes take place.

This means staff of organisations contracted by the Ministry who intend to work onsite at a school or kura, and school staff and volunteers involved in EOTC, should have their first vaccination dose by 15 November 2021 and be fully vaccinated by 1 January 2022.

 

Definition of ‘being fully vaccinated’

You are considered fully vaccinated when you have received your second dose of the vaccine for COVID-19. You are considered fully immunised two weeks after having received your second dose of the vaccine.

 

Sharing vaccination statuses and vaccination registers

Employers of education workers to whom this mandate applies are responsible for ensuring their workers meet the vaccination requirements.

A person’s vaccination status is personal information under the Privacy Act 2020 and cannot be shared with others without their permission. However, an employer can ask for this information if it is for a lawful purpose and the information is necessary for that purpose. Requesting information to comply with a COVID-19 Order mandating vaccination to protect the health and safety of both staff and students meets this threshold.    

This means facilitators will need to provide the organisation they work for access to the information necessary for their vaccination status to be recorded. They can get this from My Covid Record. They must also update their employer on any changes to their vaccination status as soon as practicable.

Ministry contracted organisations can establish their own internal processes to manage this information or may use and adapt the vaccination register and privacy statement that schools and kura will use for their staff. The links to download these tools can be found in the 15 October 2021 School Leaders Bulletin.

Schools and kura are not required to record vaccination status in their registers of workers employed by another agency, so this must be managed by the contracted organisation as the employer.

By providing this information about their vaccination status to their employer, the facilitator is ensuring that all parties are following the directive and that their employer can manage its workforce accordingly.

PLD providers and other Ministry contracted organisations are not required to disclose the vaccination status of any facilitator or provide the vaccination registers to the Ministry of Education.

 

What this means for unvaccinated facilitators

Those who do not meet vaccination requirements cannot return to work onsite from Tuesday 16 November 2021 and they will be committing an infringement offence if they do so.

An unvaccinated facilitator can provide services but must only do so virtually via video conferencing software or other online platforms.

If a facilitator chooses not to disclose their vaccination status, their employer may assume the facilitator is unvaccinated and therefore cannot deliver services onsite. This assumption should be disclosed to this facilitator.

In these instances, their employer should consult with the facilitator to establish why they are not vaccinated, continue to support them to be vaccinated, and accommodate alternative working arrangements to the extent that this is practicable.

A facilitator who gets their first vaccination after 15 November 2021 can return to work onsite. They must still receive their second vaccination on or before 1 January 2022. Current advice is that there should be at least three weeks between vaccinations.

 

Medical exemptions

In some instances, a person cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons. If a staff member has physical or other needs that a suitably qualified health practitioner (in the course of examining the person) determines would make it inappropriate for the person to be vaccinated, that person will be exempt, and they can carry out work without being vaccinated.

We expect the number of people who are exempted from the vaccination requirement to be very low as the Pfizer vaccination has proven to be safe for a very large majority of people.

The staff member must provide you with a copy of the exemption on or before Monday 15 November 2021. You should then work with the affected person to determine the duties they can safely undertake that do not compromise their safety, or the safety of ākonga or the greater schooling community.

 

Testing requirements

Education workers in Alert Level 3 regions must be tested ahead of returning physically to school, regardless of vaccination status.  However, these testing requirements do not apply to facilitators, as services should not be delivered in-person under Alert Level 3 restrictions under any circumstances.

Facilitators who are not vaccinated by 15 November 2021 cannot undergo testing (and return negative tests) to be able to return to school sites and deliver in-person services. They can only return to school sites to deliver in-person services once they have received their first vaccination dose.

 

Further information

Vaccination remains our strongest and most effective tool to protect against infection and disease, and high vaccination rates to allow sectors to respond to the pandemic and deliver everyday services with as little disruption as possible.

We do expect that providers are now actively encouraging facilitators and their staff to be vaccinated.

Vaccinations are free to anyone aged 12+ across Aotearoa New Zealand. You can view available walk-in centres or book an appointment via the Book My Vaccine website.

Information on the vaccine can be found on the Unite against COVID-19 website. Information to schools and kura can be found in the COVID-19 Ministry Bulletins for School Leaders.

If you have any questions regarding this information, please get in touch via PLD.Enquiries@education.govt.nz

Overview 

On Monday 11 October 2021, the government advised that all staff and workers who may have contact with children and students in schools and kura throughout the country (regardless of COVID-19 Alert Level) will be required to have their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by 15 November 2021 and be fully vaccinated by 1 January 2022.

The Public Health Response Order was published on 25 October 2021, and further guidance has continually been provided via the Ministry Bulletin for School Leaders. Information for all Ministry suppliers has also been published on Education.govt.nz – Advice for Ministry Suppliers.

From 1 January 2022, education services must only allow those that are fully vaccinated to provide onsite services during opening hours.

This includes:

  • principals and teachers
  • relief teachers and casual staff
  • administration staff
  • caretakers and cleaners
  • contractors, including PLD facilitators, and tradespeople
  • service managers
  • caregivers and other staff

The vaccination requirements also apply wherever in-person schooling occurs, such as on the kura, school, kōhanga reo, or early learning service site, but also at school camps, swimming pools, museums, or where other education outside the classroom (EOTC) programmes take place.

This means staff of organisations contracted by the Ministry who intend to work onsite at a school or kura, and school staff and volunteers involved in EOTC, should have their first vaccination dose by 15 November 2021 and be fully vaccinated by 1 January 2022.

 

Definition of ‘being fully vaccinated’

You are considered fully vaccinated when you have received your second dose of the vaccine for COVID-19. You are considered fully immunised two weeks after having received your second dose of the vaccine.

 

Sharing vaccination statuses and vaccination registers

Employers of education workers to whom this mandate applies are responsible for ensuring their workers meet the vaccination requirements.

A person’s vaccination status is personal information under the Privacy Act 2020 and cannot be shared with others without their permission. However, an employer can ask for this information if it is for a lawful purpose and the information is necessary for that purpose. Requesting information to comply with a COVID-19 Order mandating vaccination to protect the health and safety of both staff and students meets this threshold.    

This means facilitators will need to provide the organisation they work for access to the information necessary for their vaccination status to be recorded. They can get this from My Covid Record. They must also update their employer on any changes to their vaccination status as soon as practicable.

Ministry contracted organisations can establish their own internal processes to manage this information or may use and adapt the vaccination register and privacy statement that schools and kura will use for their staff. The links to download these tools can be found in the 15 October 2021 School Leaders Bulletin.

Schools and kura are not required to record vaccination status in their registers of workers employed by another agency, so this must be managed by the contracted organisation as the employer.

By providing this information about their vaccination status to their employer, the facilitator is ensuring that all parties are following the directive and that their employer can manage its workforce accordingly.

PLD providers and other Ministry contracted organisations are not required to disclose the vaccination status of any facilitator or provide the vaccination registers to the Ministry of Education.

 

What this means for unvaccinated facilitators

Those who do not meet vaccination requirements cannot return to work onsite from Tuesday 16 November 2021 and they will be committing an infringement offence if they do so.

An unvaccinated facilitator can provide services but must only do so virtually via video conferencing software or other online platforms.

If a facilitator chooses not to disclose their vaccination status, their employer may assume the facilitator is unvaccinated and therefore cannot deliver services onsite. This assumption should be disclosed to this facilitator.

In these instances, their employer should consult with the facilitator to establish why they are not vaccinated, continue to support them to be vaccinated, and accommodate alternative working arrangements to the extent that this is practicable.

A facilitator who gets their first vaccination after 15 November 2021 can return to work onsite. They must still receive their second vaccination on or before 1 January 2022. Current advice is that there should be at least three weeks between vaccinations.

 

Medical exemptions

In some instances, a person cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons. If a staff member has physical or other needs that a suitably qualified health practitioner (in the course of examining the person) determines would make it inappropriate for the person to be vaccinated, that person will be exempt, and they can carry out work without being vaccinated.

We expect the number of people who are exempted from the vaccination requirement to be very low as the Pfizer vaccination has proven to be safe for a very large majority of people.

The staff member must provide you with a copy of the exemption on or before Monday 15 November 2021. You should then work with the affected person to determine the duties they can safely undertake that do not compromise their safety, or the safety of ākonga or the greater schooling community.

 

Testing requirements

Education workers in Alert Level 3 regions must be tested ahead of returning physically to school, regardless of vaccination status.  However, these testing requirements do not apply to facilitators, as services should not be delivered in-person under Alert Level 3 restrictions under any circumstances.

Facilitators who are not vaccinated by 15 November 2021 cannot undergo testing (and return negative tests) to be able to return to school sites and deliver in-person services. They can only return to school sites to deliver in-person services once they have received their first vaccination dose.

 

Further information

Vaccination remains our strongest and most effective tool to protect against infection and disease, and high vaccination rates to allow sectors to respond to the pandemic and deliver everyday services with as little disruption as possible.

We do expect that providers are now actively encouraging facilitators and their staff to be vaccinated.

Vaccinations are free to anyone aged 12+ across Aotearoa New Zealand. You can view available walk-in centres or book an appointment via the Book My Vaccine website.

Information on the vaccine can be found on the Unite against COVID-19 website. Information to schools and kura can be found in the COVID-19 Ministry Bulletins for School Leaders.

If you have any questions regarding this information, please get in touch via PLD.Enquiries@education.govt.nz