|We are receiving a range of enquiries in regard to the coronavirus response. The following information will assist you, if you are getting similar questions. This update is longer than usual because we wanted to repeat key information. All the relevant links are included if you want more detail.|
Current advice regarding who needs to stay away
We have collated the key information from the Ministry of Health website to support your understanding of current requirements for the stay away period:
A key point is that the 14 day stay away period starts from when the person left China (or Wuhan City/Hubei Province). Not when they were due to start back at school or from when they arrived in New Zealand (eg, they may have travelled to another country before arriving here).
- New border measures will deny entry to New Zealand for anyone who has left or transited through mainland China after midnight on 2 February 2020, with the exception of:
- New Zealand citizens (including those from the three Countries of the Realm: Tokelau, Niue and the Cook Islands), permanent residents and their immediate family
- Air crews on direct flights from mainland China who have been using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
- If have been in close contact with a confirmed novel coronavirus case you should self-isolate for 14 days. If you develop symptoms including fever, coughing and difficulty breathing you should ring Healthline (for free) on 0800 611 116 or your doctor.
- As of 2 February 2020, all travellers arriving in New Zealand out of mainland China should self-isolate for a period of 14 days from the time they leave mainland China.
- People who departed from mainland China before midnight 2 February are not required to self-isolate unless they have been in Wuhan City or Hubei Province in the last 14 days.
Stay away 14 day - guidance
Health has also updated their guidance today, for those that are being asked to stay away (Health use the words “self-isolation”). It has been updated to remove any confusion about what is required for those staying away.
This information will particularly be useful for homestay families and school hostels. The information may also be of interest to your school community including:
This most current stay away guidance applies only to those who arrived from mainland China after 2 February 2020. The guidance may however be useful for those who arrived from Wuhan City / Hubei Province in the last 14 days, and are completing their stay away period.
- If you have not been in contact with someone who has been infected with the virus, then your risk of being infected is very low
- People are being asked to take simple common-sense steps as you would with the seasonal flu-virus
- Health are only asking those people who have travelled in mainland China to stay away, not any other people who they may be living with.
Following the advice of health
At the time of writing there is no confirmed case of coronavirus in New Zealand, although the Ministry of Health do anticipate that at some stage this will occur. They are well prepared for such an eventuality as we are sure you are too. As part of your preparations, you may wish to review your pandemic plan. We have information on our website to help you do that:In managing potential risk, your school or early learning service should be following the advice of the Ministry of Health. If your response varies from this, you may need to seek legal advice to ensure you are not breaching the Education Act or human rights considerations.
The following are some examples where schools and early learning services have been imposing requirements that do not align with Health’s advice:
Please note we have worked with all schools and early learning services in these instances, to emphasise the Health guidance and ensure that appropriate actions were being taken..
- Asking individuals to stay away for 21 days rather than 14
- Asking individuals who have not travelled in mainland China, or had contact with anyone confirmed with the virus, to stay away
- Placing a 15 year old in an isolated accommodation facility with no caregiver on site
- Asking individuals who have travelled recently in Australia, Germany, France, India, Indonesia etc, to undertake a stay away period
- Asking for a Doctors’ certificate before they can return to their education providers
We are aware that some of you are dealing with what can only be described as racist behaviour from a small proportion of your community. Just a reminder that there is information in the wellbeing guidancewe sent you in Monday’s Bulletin, including:
Keeping your community informed about what your service or school is doing will help keep a calm environment for staff, children, students and families.
- where children and students are not respected, or treated fairly, or discriminated against - respond fairly and effectively
- it’s important to remember that if bullying occurs for whatever reason, that bullying prevention is everyone’s responsibility
- ensure children and students who have visited affected areas are also publically supported, and that their culture and identity is respected.
You may also find this information from the Human Rights Commission useful
Immigration New Zealand
We are working with Immigration New Zealand in advice about student visas. We will update you about this as soon as we have confirmed details. In the meantime there is information on the Immigration NZ website that may assist you [PDF].
Useful information on the website for you
Just a reminder about some of the information that has been added to the website for you which will be updated as information changes:Thank you again for all the very hard work you are doing to ensure the safety of your community and to welcome international travellers back to your school.
Please continue to engage with the Ministry of Health webpage which is being regularly updated in addition to our own education web content and if you have any further questions, please do get in touch with your local Ministry contacts.
Secretary for Education