MANDATORY COVID VACCINATIONS IN THE EARLY LEARNING SECTOR

Kaimahi need to have their first dose by 15 November 2021.

From 1 January 2022, Kōhanga Reo will need to maintain a register of vaccinated kaimahi and ensure only vaccinated kaimahi and support people have contact with tamariki.

This public health order includes whānau awhi, kaumātua, kuia, whānau committee members, ākonga, administrators, maintenance kaimahi and contractors.

All kaimahi in Tamaki Makaurau and other Alert Level 3 regions will be required to return a negative COVID-19 test result before they can return to work onsite.

Those who are not fully vaccinated in the period leading up to 1 January 2022 will also be required to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

Q1. Who needs to be vaccinated in our Kōhanga Reo?

A. All kaimahi, including volunteers, must be fully vaccinated. Kaimahi must have their first COVID-19 vaccination before 15 November 2021, and their second dose before 1 January 2022.

The Kōhanga Reo is required to maintain a register of vaccinated kaimahi in Edge. The dates of the first and second dose must be entered into Edge alongside evidence of the person’s vaccination status. COVID-19 vaccination certificates will be the only acceptable evidence once implemented by the government at the end of November 2021.

Q2. What if I am not vaccinated?

A. All kaimahi must have their first COVID-19 vaccination by 15 November. In areas under Alert Level 3 conditions, all kaimahi including those who are fully vaccinated must return an initial negative COVID-19 test. Partially vaccinated kaimahi are required to COVID-19 test every seven days until they are fully vaccinated. This only applies to regions at Alert Level 3.  

This testing is called surveillance testing and is done to monitor the spread of COVID-19 throughout the community while at Alert Level 3. 

The Kōhanga Reo is required to maintain a register of weekly test results in Edge. The options are expected to be available from 1 November 2021. Advice from the Ministry of Health on acceptable evidence of a test result is still being developed. Updated information will be provided when available.  

The government will outline the consequences to the employment of a person who does not comply with the requirement for weekly testing or vaccination. 

Q3. Are vaccine exemptions available?

A. Vaccine exemptions will only be available through medical practitioners and issued under a limited number of circumstances. The exemption application process is still being developed by the Ministry of Health and updated information will be provided when available.

Q4. Are kaimahi required to show proof of a vaccination exemption?

A. Aē, in the limited circumstances an exemption is issued by a medical practitioner, the evidence must be shown in order for a person to continue to be employed.

From 1 January 2022, kaimahi must provide proof of their vaccination status, which will be stored in Edge. Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust kaimahi will be able to access this data for compliance purposes only.

Q5. Who is responsible for issuing exemptions to the vaccination requirements?

A. The government are working to release advice relating to the vaccination exemption programme. Updated information will be provided when available.

Q6. How do kaimahi prove their vaccination status?

A. The My Covid Record website has launched, and anyone aged 16 and over can now access a record of their COVID-19 vaccinations. 
  
Access My Covid Record
  
The records include details of the vaccinations you’ve had including date, time, location and batch number. You will initially need to register and create and account. 
  
You can also request proof of your vaccination here

The My Covid Record website will be where Covid vaccination certificates can be downloaded once available at the end of November 2021. These certificates will be the only acceptable proof of vaccination status and must be uploaded into Edge. 

Q7. Will I lose my job if I am not vaccinated?

A. The government are working to release advice relating to employment status of unvaccinated kaimahi. Updated information will be provided when available.

Q8. Am I required to isolate while awaiting the results of a regular surveillance test?

A. Kao, you are not required to self-isolate while awaiting a surveillance test result.

You are required to self-isolate if you are tested because you have COVID-19 symptoms.

Q9. Are ākonga required to be vaccinated?

A. All ākonga working in a Kōhanga Reo are required to be vaccinated. If the ākonga is unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons, they are required to undergo weekly surveillance testing and the results must be recorded in Edge.

Q10. Do parents and caregivers need to be vaccinated?

A. Parents and caregivers who regularly spend time in the Kōhanga Reo around tamariki will need to be vaccinated. You do not need to know parent and caregiver vaccination status if they are only dropping off and collecting their tamariki. Masks must be worn for picking up and droping off of tamariki.

Q11. Are volunteers (Parents, ākonga, kaumātua) required to show proof of their vaccination status and will this be stored in Edge?

A. Aē, all kaimahi and support people spending time with tamariki in the Kōhanga Reo are required to be vaccinated, and must provide evidence of their vaccine certificate, which must be stored in Edge.

Q12. Are masks required as well?

A. At all Alert Levels Kaimahi are encouraged to wear masks during drop off and pick up but there is no requirement to wear a facemask in Kōhanga Reo. 

Q13. Are fully vaccinated kaimahi required to wear masks too?

A. At all Alert Levels facemasks are an added protection and should be worn if your Kōhanga Reo operates a pickup and drop off service. Masks are not required when working within the Kōhanga Reo. 

Q14. Is there any evidence the vaccine is safe?

A. Two weeks after the second dose fully vaccinated people are 95% protected from COVID-19. This massively reduces the chances you’ll contract COVID-19 and pass it on to others. If you do contract the virus, you are unlikely to develop severe symptoms which require hospitalization. You can read more here: https://covid19.govt.nz/covid-19-vaccines/get-the-facts-about-covid-19-vaccination/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-pfizer-vaccine/

Q15. Will there be training on how to maintain the kaimahi vaccine register in Edge?

A. Aē. The Trust will work with Edge to develop a YouTube video and how to guide. Online training will also be made available to support Kōhanga Reo Kaimahi requiring additional support.

Q16. What are the potential consequences if a Kōhanga Reo fails to comply with the health order?

A. Kōhanga Reo in breach of the health order could have their license suspended resulting in immediate closure until the issues are addressed.

Q17. Is this Public Health order a breach of my Human Rights?

A. Kaore. Every person has the right to choose not to be vaccinated but the consequence is a limitation on employment.

For more information on Human rights in relation to covid, visit: https://www.hrc.co.nz/resources/human-rights-relation-covid-19/

Q18. Will my COVID vaccine status and other private information be stored responsibly? 

A. Aē. All data held in Edge is stored in accordance with the Privacy Act 2020. Only relevant users with approved permission can view these records within the Kōhanga Reo. 

Trust Kaimahi will only access the data for licensing and compliance purpose. Edge will not access the data unless contacted by the Kōhanga Reo for assistance updating the COVID records. 

 

There has been a lot of kōrero about the rights of an individual to make choices for themselves which should be respected. But when we look to te ao Māori tino rangatiratanga and mana motuhake, they do not necessarily translate to individual benefit, but refer instead to a collective benefit. By exercising your mana motuhake for the benefit of the collective, you will find tino rangatiratanga. These actions allow us to be who we are by protecting our whakapapa.

 

Useful links:

 

Update - Tuesday. 19 October relating to the COVID-19 Required Testing Order (Q2) and personal information stored in accordance with the Privacy Act 2020 (Q18).