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Guidance for school teachers and leaders

Working through the COVID-19 event

Working at Alert Level 2

At Alert Level 2, schools will be open for learning. As we prepare to welcome our learners back to a physical school environment, we need to ensure that this transition is carefully managed. Throughout the system, we are all learning how to do this together.

People will have different emotions and responses when they return to school, return to previous routines, and discover the resulting short and long term changes of the post-COVID-19 world. Students may react differently over time and some responses could be triggered by seemingly unrelated events. A well-constructed plan will help ease this transition back to school.

Supporting staff and students unable to return to school

While most students and staff are likely to be returning to school following lockdown, some teachers and learners will still be learning and working from home. For the small number of learners who cannot return to school at Alert Level 2 there are a number of options. How schools manage this will depend on the age of the student, the subject or learning area and how many learners are affected.

Schools may consider using the Virtual Learning Network Community for students who are likely to be away for an extended period

Alternatively, they may arrange to provide distance learning opportunities as they have been throughout Alert Level 4 and Alert Level 3, which could be supported by teachers who cannot come into school.

Another approach may be to continue to use Ministry of Education-provided hard copy resource packs and Home Learning | Papa Kāinga TV, or schools and kura could develop their own hard-packs based on learner need and their local curriculum. Maintaining connections with and providing opportunities for learning for students who are not returning to school is important, and there are a range of ways schools and kura can do this.

Be flexible and focus on wellbeing

This will be a time to be as flexible and responsive as possible to the needs that arise and for a strengthened focus on knowing your learners.

Teachers need to know that they can change their plans to focus more holistically on everyone’s wellbeing.

Learners will be better placed to access learning opportunities once relationships, safety, and routines are re-established.

Resources to support transition to Alert Level 2

We know that many of you will be working with your colleagues and community to ensure the return to school or kura is as smooth as possible. The following resources are available to help you plan for the return to school at Level 2. These are intended as starting points to assist with your thinking and are by no means exhaustive. The documents are editable so that you can adapt to suit your own school’s or kura’s needs. More resources aimed at teachers will be added soon.

Advice for school leaders - what's important

Advice for school leaders on the return to school

Transition back to school

A model for planning the transition and to link with school planning and self-review cycle

Resources and support

Don't forget you can still access Professional Learning and Development to help you with teaching and learning during Alert Level 2 

Email PLD Enquiries for more information

The Connected Learning Advisory helpline remains available to provide advice and ideas to support teaching and learning during Alert Level 2

Call 0800 700 401 for support in English

Call 0508 294 462 for support in Te Reo Māori

School Bulletins with COVID-19 advice

The latest COVID-19 advice from the Ministry of Education

The latest COVID-19 advice from the New Zealand Government

Other Alert Level guidance

Previous Alert Level guidance

  • Everyone should work and learn from home if they can.
  • All children and young people who can stay at home should stay home.
  • Many early learning centres will be open along with primary and intermediate schools for families that need them.
  • Secondary schools will be open for years 9-10 students that need them.
  • Students in years 11-13 will continue learning from home.
  • At risk staff should also stay home.
  • Talk with your principal if you are unsure about what that means for you.

See our detailed advice for distance learning under Alert Level 3 during Term 2 2020

Public health control measures will be in place in schools and early learning centres.

  • Parents are asked to keep sick children at home. If a sick child comes to school, send them home.
  • Hand sanitiser at entry to classrooms and in bathrooms.
  • Staggered entry times into classes to minimise gatherings of children or parents.
  • To support contact tracing, students should sit in the same place each day, with 1m physical distance between all children, young people and staff. Must maintain 2 metre physical distance outside and 1 metre inside, during breaks, and on school transport.
  • Limit the number of children in each learning bubble to 10. Once schools have processes running smoothly the bubble could be increased to up to 20 children.
  • Breaks should be staggered as should starts and finishes to the day, and bubbles cannot mix during breaks.
  • Physical education classes and break time activities cannot include sports with less than 2 metre physical distance or where the same equipment is touched by different students (balls, ropes, sticks, etc).
  • Disinfect and clean all surfaces daily.
  • Set up contact tracing registers to identify which children are in each teaching space. Record when and who they have contact with during the day if that changes. This includes recording who the adults are in contact with as well as recording any visitors to the site, including parents.

Detailed information about what Alert Level 3 means for schools and early learning services from the Ministry of Education