COVID-19: Level 2 FAQ
Managing staff leave during Delta Level 2
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Moving to Level 2
The advice below will be updated if more information is provided from the Ministry.
You cannot be on-site after 1 January 2022 unless you have had two COVID vaccinations. You must have at least one vaccination by 15 November to be allowed on-site from 16 November if in level 2 and provide evidence of weekly negative COVID tests if single vaccinated in level 3.
If you have a medical exemption from the Ministry of Health you can continue work on-site subject to an appropriate health and safety assessment by the employer. You may also be given offsite duties or paid leave if the assessment indicates that it is not practicable in terms of health and safety for you to work on-site
Should I wear a mask?
You legally must wear a face covering on public transport.
Ministry of Health guidelines strongly recommend wearing a mask or face covering in schools but it is not mandatory.
PPTA strongly recommends that you wear a mask and that there is training in the correct use of masks for staff and students. We also recommend that schools provide disposable masks for use by staff and students.
Your school can direct you to wear a face-covering if they have reasonable grounds to do so, such as someone in the school community who is at higher risk. In this case, they must supply you with an appropriate face covering or mask.
What are my entitlements to sick leave during level 2?
A table with sick leave entitlements that covers those with COVID-19 or another illness, those with dependents who are ill, and those in at-risk categories can be found here.
What should I do if I am in a high-risk category?
People at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 (eg those with underlying medical conditions, especially if not well-controlled) are encouraged to take additional precautions when leaving home.
They may work on-site, if they agree with their employer that they can do so safely.
The PPTA advises you to let your principal know if you are in the high-risk category, and have a conversation with them about any steps that may need to be taken so that you can work safely on-site.
Even if you are vaccinated against COVID-19 your health professional may still consider the risk to you individually of being onsite are high and provide you with a medical certificate to support that.
Please do not hesitate to get in touch with your field officer if you would like support to do this.
While there is a higher level of recording of attendance required by the community under Delta Level 2, the existing forms of record keeping at school (student rolls and staff attendance data) will be sufficient for schools.
Should face-to-face meetings with staff be limited to 10 people?
Schools are operating under a high level of traceability and stringent hygiene requirements.
To minimise risk to staff schools should be seeking to limit face-to-face meetings to those which are necessary and cannot be reasonably done by video conference or similar distance technology.
Where individual face-to-face meetings are held with people from outside the school then teachers should maintain a 2-metre distance.
I don’t feel safe going to school but my principal says I must. What are my rights?
There is an expectation that most teachers will work on-site during level 2. You should raise any concerns with your principal and ask that they are addressed in the school’s level 2 planning.
Your principal may agree that you can work from home. If not, they may agree that you can take unpaid leave (or you could apply for special paid leave at your employer's discretion).
You can also talk to your GP about how you are feeling, and if appropriate, sick leave (with a medical certificate) may be an option.
Talk with your PPTA field officer if you are in this situation. "Refusal to follow a reasonable instruction" could have major employment consequences.
Can I cross-level zones to go to school?
The PHO now allows you to travel across Alert Level 3 and Alert Level 2 boundaries to move between school and home.
There are testing requirements if you are travelling back and forth across the Auckland boundary (e.g. evidence of a negative COVID-19 test no more than seven days before the journey).
You do not need a test if you are moving between Alert Level 3 and 2 areas within the Waikato region.
The Unite Against COVID-19 website has more information for staff has more information on the evidence needed and the testing requirements.
How much cleaning can we be expected to do?
You can reasonably be expected to keep your own desk and work areas clean and sanitised. Any office that you use is also your responsibility.
Your school should arrange extra cleaning staff for the cleaning of communal areas, door handles, light switches, and so forth, so that that duty does not fall on the teachers.
The delta variant is more transmissible by air than the earlier forms. Schools should be endeavouring to ensure that there is good ventilation in rooms.
I am a sports/drama/dance teacher. Should I be allowing my students to have contact with one another?
Contact sport and close contact activities can resume if you are able to contact trace who is on-site during school hours and during practice and competitions. Avoid contact where possible, minimise contact where it is unavoidable, and give extra emphasis to handwashing and drying (or using hand sanitiser) before and after activities. Regular cleaning of equipment is very important. Any inter-school events will need to have a contact tracing register in place to record those playing in both teams.
Ministry of Education guidance on singing and wind instruments is to allow a minimum of 2m distancing between students.
I am an ITM/RTLB/reliever/ACT/etc. Can I work across different sites and for different employers at alert level 2?
At each site you will need to ensure that you are recorded as being on-site (through the timetable and/or visitor register or scanning), and you must follow the appropriate hygiene and health and safety measures required by each school.
For ITMs, the Ministry of Education guidance on singing and wind instruments is to allow a minimum of 2m distancing between students. Regular cleaning of instruments is very important.
Should we be having assemblies and staff meetings?
Under the COVID-19 Public Health Response Order, schools are exempted from physical distancing requirements. For most day-to-day activities at schools, the general Level 2 rules for gatherings do not apply. However, the additional restrictions on gathering limits do apply if there are people who are not staff or students present. Those are no more than 50 allowed to gather in indoor spaces and no more than 100 in outdoor spaces.
These changes have implications for assemblies and staff meetings. If these events do go ahead public health advice is that they should take place in well-ventilated areas or outdoors, and attendees should be physically distanced.
While schools are left to make their own decisions about whether to hold such gatherings PPTA advice is that no gathering should happen if it is avoidable. Staff meetings can be virtual or information provided through email. If such events go ahead and there are people who are not staff or students present then the additional restrictions around those gatherings must apply.
Should we be having outside events and activities?
Under the COVID-19 Public Health Response Order, schools are exempted from physical distancing requirements. For most day-to-day activities at schools, the general Level 2 rules for gatherings do not apply. However, the additional restrictions on gathering limits do apply if there are people who are not staff or students present. Those are no more than 100 allowed to gather in outdoor spaces.
These changes have implications for schools when considering sports or cultural events on school grounds. If these events do go ahead public health advice is that they should take place in well-ventilated areas outdoors, and spectators/attendees should be physically distanced.
While schools are left to make their own decisions PPTA advice is that no gatherings should happen if they are avoidable. Events could be deferred to level 1, cancelled or run without spectators.
If such events go ahead then additional restrictions must apply.
What about students travelling from level 3 zones to school?
The PHO now allows students to travel across Alert Level 3 and Alert Level 2 boundaries to move between school and home.
Students who are travelling back and forth across the Auckland alert level boundary or between level 3 and 2 areas within the Waikato are not required to undertake regular testing.
Schools in level 2 with students travelling in from level 3 areas should have appropriate health and safety measures in place, such as appropriate distancing, ventilation, masks, hand sanitiser etc. The board may adopt a policy of encouraging all staff and students to wear masks.
How can we support students to catch up and complete any missed work?
The first priority is re-establishing relationships and routines and, from there, building on learning.
NZQA has provided an assessment matrix guide for all of the internal and external assessments which might be useful. The guide suggests the kinds of support students will need to complete various pieces of work.
How can I manage my own workload whilst supporting students to catch up?
Use your professional judgement about how to work with students who have not completed work. If this is the majority of students, you may need to cover the work again. If you do cover the work again, you may need to leave out another standard.
Your decision may consider:
- the number of students affected
- the importance of the topic
- its relationship to future topics
- number of credits it is worth
- whether it leads to an assessment activity
How do I manage my workload when I have students learning online and students in the classroom?
At Level 2 expect the majority of students to be in class. Some options for those who have students remaining at home:
- Treat students who are not on-site as you would any student who is on a prolonged absence and let them know the work that is being covered in class
- Teach online with all students working on their devices
- Employ relievers to work with students learning from home