COVID-19 – what schools need to know

29 Jul 2021

Trans-Tasman travel window to close at midnight tomorrow

Remaining travellers in Australia (except NSW) are urged to book a seat immediately.

Update on COVID-19 cases — 29 July

Read the latest update on COVID-19 cases from the Ministry of Health.

Third COVID-19 vaccine receives provisional approval

The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine has been granted provisional approval by Medsafe.

COVID-19 media conference — 28 July 2021 at 12:30pm

Watch the media conference with government officials and ministers at 12:30pm.


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23 July 2021

Quarantine-free travel with Australia suspended

Quarantine-free travel from all Australian states and territories to New Zealand is being suspended as the COVID-19 situation there worsens.



COVID-19 vaccinations for Group 3

If you’re in Group 3 and haven’t booked your vaccination, call the COVID Vaccination Healthline on 0800 28 29 26 (8am to 8pm, 7 days) and they will make the booking for you.

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30 June 2021

All of New Zealand is at Alert Level 1

Wellington joined the rest of New Zealand at Alert Level 1 at 11:59pm on Tuesday 29 June 2021.

What we all need to do at Alert Level 1



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Alert Level 2

Guidance for schools on staff matters at Alert Level 2

At Alert Level 2, schools are open for all age groups, but must ensure additional public health control measures are in place to prevent the spread of disease and to support contact tracing.
Unless required to self-isolate on public health advice, all employees are able to return to work onsite but are asked to do so in a safe and conscientious way.
On instruction of public health, employees must stay at home if they are self-isolating or are caring for a dependant who is self-isolating. In this case: 

  • Employees should work remotely (usually from home) wherever practicable
  • Where it is not possible for an employee to work remotely, discretionary paid leave should be given, paid at normal rates
  • Casual staff who are required to self-isolate on instruction from public health can contact us to find out what support is available for them under Alert Level 2.

Where a person cannot work onsite as normal due to an underlying health concern, they should provide you with appropriate medical evidence to support this request (such as a medical certificate obtained at the employee's cost).

Employees who cannot be onsite for underlying health reasons should work from home or be provided with alternative duties where it is safe to do so. If neither option is available, the board may choose to provide discretionary paid leave (at their cost) to teaching staff, or approved annual leave or other paid leave for non-teaching staff. Where no paid leave arrangement can be agreed, special unpaid leave can be provided.
Employees are expected to continue their usual childcare arrangements, where needed. Some flexibility may be required if all usual childcare options are not available.

Information about managing staff leave during COVID-19 Alert Level 2.


Support on application for relievers and casual staff impacted by Alert Level 2 COVID-19 restrictions

Day relievers and casual staff can apply for support where at Alert Level 2 their ability to accept work was directly affected by COVID-19.
We have re-established the emergency payment scheme by application only for those who:

  • are a current education sector worker employed on an ‘as needed basis’; and
  • are sick with COVID-19, or are caring for a dependant who is sick with COVID-19; or
  • are self-isolating or are caring for a dependant who is self-isolating due to coming into close contact with someone who has COVID-19.

If you are aware of relievers or other casual staff that meet the eligibility criteria, please let them know they can apply for the Alert Level 2 emergency payment online.


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Government's vaccination plan sampled from 24 June 2021

Everyone in New Zealand aged 16 and over will be in 1 of 4 groups for their COVID-19 vaccinations. Learn more about who’s in each group and when they can book their vaccinations.

Important dates

Everyone in New Zealand aged 16 and over will be in 1 of 4 vaccine rollout groups. People at greater risk will get vaccinated first.

Once it’s your turn, you can be vaccinated at any time — there’s no cut off.

Group Who this includes Bookings open
Group 1 Border and managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) workers Now
Group 2 High-risk frontline workers and people living in high-risk places Now
Group 3 People who are at risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 Now
Group 4 People aged 60 and over


28 July
  People aged 55 and over 11 August
  People aged 45 and over Mid to late August
  People aged 35 and over Mid to late September
  People aged 16 and over


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Other general information and advice for students, whānau, and the education sector

Ministry of Education COVID-19 information

Guidance – all in one place

We have summarised the existing health and safety requirements for each Alert Level into the relevant documents below:

Health and Safety guidance for early learning services – Alert Levels 1-4[PDF, 786 KB]

Health and Safety guidance for playgroups – Alert Levels 1-4[PDF, 759 KB]

Health and Safety guidance for schools – Alert Levels 1–4

As new information comes to hand, the information in this summary guidance might change. If this occurs, we will quickly advise you, update the summary guide for levels 1 – 4 and disseminate.

Our regional teams continue to be available to support you if you have any questions or concerns.

Contact our regional teams

Confirmed, probable or possible cases linked to your school

If there is a confirmed case in your school

If there is confirmed or probable case linked with your school or early learning service, you will be advised of that by the Medical Officer of Health or your local public health authority (or local Ministry of Education staff working in conjunction with local health authorities).
Our regional staff will work with you and local health authorities to agree a plan. That will happen quickly and support will be provided to assist you to communicate with and support your community and staff.
If you become aware of a case associated with your school or early learning service and haven’t received notification from health authorities, please contact your local public health unit or your local Ministry of Education contact for information and support:

Local health authorities through the Medical Officer of Health will make the decision about whether a school or service needs to close for a period of time, and will determine who is required to undertake self-isolation.

Who needs to stay away?

Unless directed by the Medical Officer of Health, the only people who need to stay away are those who are:

  • Unwell.
  • Self-isolating (at the request of health authorities).
  • Waiting for COVID test results.

Everyone else should be at school.
Anyone who is a contact of a ‘close contact’ is not required to self-isolate. Close contacts are self-isolating as a precaution only, and will monitor for symptoms.
For example - a staff member who had close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19 will be asked by health authorities to self-isolate for 14 days from when they last had contact with the confirmed case. Their family members and other close contacts of the staff member are not required to self-isolate unless they have also had close contact with a confirmed case. 


Flutracking is an online survey which asks if you have had a fever or cough in the last week and which can help us track COVID-19.

Registering online will help our surveillance efforts by providing early detection of community spread of the flu and also of COVID-19 symptoms. 

This is a practical thing everyone can do to help us monitor flu and COVID-19 symptoms throughout NZ.

Register for Flutracking online

More information

COVID-19 – Ministry of Health

COVID-19 - Information in other languages - Ministry of Health

COVID-19 - Easy Read information - Ministry of Health

Unite against COVID-19 – NZ Government website


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Get tested for COVID-19