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Distance learning

Keep learning following any emergency event that makes early learning services and schools/kura/wharekura inaccessible

If an event occurs and early learning services and schools, kura or wharekura have to close in a part or parts of the country, distance learning may be rolled out to ensure teaching and learning continue in the affected area(s). 

Being prepared is key to a more efficient response, a smoother transition to distance learning, and ultimately better wellbeing for everyone. It will be important to engage all learners and the below link has more information about supporting those with additional learning needs.

Planning for inclusion

Emergency response

In any emergency event, health and safety measures – such as evacuating people from a hazardous building or getting them away from a dangerous situation – will always come first. For more information on planning for emergencies, as well as resources, visit this page:

Preparing for emergencies, traumatic incidents, evacuations and lockdowns


Along with health and safety, wellbeing is a top priority in any emergency event. Children will not only be able to learn if their emotional/mental wellbeing are taken care of and they feel safe and comfortable.

For more on this, go to Health, safety and wellbeing.

Distance learning

If an emergency event causes early learning services and schools/kura/wharekura to close, children will need to learn away from the classroom. Everyone will have a part to play to ensure distance learning is successful – early learning services and schools, kura, wharekura, as well as the Ministry, parents, whānau, caregivers and learners themselves.

Early learning services and schools, kura, wharekura

  • Make decisions regarding if/when to implement distance learning
  • Develop plans to provide distance learning
  • Have online resources and hardcopy learning packs (for students who don't have devices or connectivity) ready, as well as resources to help teachers teach away from the classroom
  • Distribute/share resources in a response
  • Ensure learners and parents/whānau/caregivers know how distance learning will work in an event and stay connected with them.

A distance learning readiness checklist can be found at Advice for teachers.

The Ministry

  • Help early learning services and schools/kura/wharekura get prepared for distance learning through Regional Offices
  • Make online resources and TV learning programmes available in a response
  • Work with early learning services and schools/kura/wharekura that require additional support during an event.

Parents/whānau and caregivers

  • Are prepared for learning to take place at home (such as having the right contact details for teachers and talking with whānau about how to support distance learning while meeting other home/work commitments)
  • Stay connected with their children’s early learning service or schools/kura/wharekura in a response, so they know how distance learning will take place.
  • Ensure their children’s health and wellbeing are top priority in a response, so they feel comfortable and safe for learning to take place.

Advice for parents and whānau


Technology is an important part of successful distance learning. Visit this page to find out more about video conferencing, cyber security practices and software that supports remote learning: