COVID-19 Tertiary Bulletin

COVID-19 Tertiary Bulletin

Last updated 5 July 2022
Last updated 5 July 2022

Tertiary and International COVID-19 Bulletin

For the latest guidance for tertiary under the COVID-19 Protection Framework, please visit the Ministry of Education’s Tertiary and International COVID-19 Bulletin webpage.

Previous issues of the bulletin are available below.

Update: 13 April 2022 COVID 19 Update

Read the Tertiary and International COVID-19 Bulletin for 31 March 2022 on the Ministry of Education's website.

Update: 31 March 2022: COVID 19 Update

Read the Tertiary and International COVID-19 Bulletin for 31 March 2022 on the Ministry of Education's website.

Update: 24 March 2022: COVID 19 Update

Read the Tertiary and International COVID-19 Bulletin for 24 March 2022 on the Ministry of Education's website.

Update: 11 March 2022: COVID-19 Update

Read the Tertiary and International COVID-19 Bulletin for 11 March 2022 on the Ministry of Education's website.

Update: 4 March 2022: COVID-19 Update

Read the Tertiary and International COVID-19 Bulletin for 4 March 2022 on the Ministry of Education's website.

Update: 24 February 2022: COVID-19 Update

Read the Tertiary and International COVID-19 Bulletin for 24 February 2022 on the Ministry of Education's website.

Update: 22 February 2022: COVID-19 Update

Read the Tertiary and International COVID-19 Bulletin for 22 February 2022 on the Ministry of Education's website.

Update: 17 February 2022: COVID-19 Update

Read the Tertiary and International COVID-19 Bulletin for 17 February 2022 on the Ministry of Education's website.

Update: 15 February 2022: COVID-19 Update

Read the Tertiary and International COVID-19 Bulletin for 15 February 2022 on the Ministry of Education's website.

Update: 11 February 2022: COVID-19 Update

Read the Tertiary and International COVID-19 Bulletin for 11 February 2022 on the Ministry of Education's website.

Update: 1 February 2022: COVID-19 Update

Read the Tertiary and International COVID-19 Bulletin for 1 February 2022 on the Ministry of Education’s website.

Update: 27 January 2022: COVID-19 Update

Read the Tertiary and International COVID-19 Bulletin for 27 January 2022 on the Ministry of Education’s website.

Update: 25 January 2022: COVID-19 Update

Kia ora koutou,

As many of you will be aware, all of New Zealand will move to the Red setting of the COVID-19 Protection Framework at 11:59pm today, Sunday 23 January, as Omicron is potentially now transmitting in the community.

From tomorrow, tertiary education and student accommodation providers will need to put in place their plans for operating at Red.  

You can find guidance on how to operate at Red on the Ministry of Education website: Tertiary and international education at Red. Key points about tertiary education at Red are set out at the conclusion of this email.

While this guidance should be familiar to you, we recognise that providers may be reviewing their plans in light of Omicron.

The Government is actively looking at how the system may need to evolve in response to Omicron. As the Prime Minister signalled, this is likely to include a staged approach to contact tracing and management as the situation changes. We will keep you updated as things evolve.

Key points about tertiary education at Red:

  • At Red, staff must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (unless exempt) to be onsite at tertiary providers. At this stage, staff do not need a booster dose to be ‘fully vaccinated’.
  • Students and visitors must also be fully vaccinated (unless exempt) and have a valid My Vaccine Pass to be onsite.
  • Tertiary education providers that choose not to require My Vaccine Passes onsite at Red must close to students and visitors, and may provide distance learning only. They must have systems and processes in place to ensure that only staff are able to be onsite, and only to the extent necessary to provide distance or online learning.
  • Face coverings must be used indoors at tertiary education premises that are open to the public, and during formal teaching and learning activities (unless an exemption applies). Capacity limits based on 1m distancing are also required.
  • Where possible, providers are encouraged to make learning options available for those who are unable or unwilling to attend classes being held onsite. 
  • Onsite businesses and services should operate subject to COVID-19 Protection Framework guidelines and rules for the relevant sector (e.g., retail, hospitality, gyms, close-proximity businesses). Guidelines for these businesses and services are available on the business.govt.nz website: COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic lights) - business.govt.nz(external link)

Update: 22 December 2021: COVID-19 Update

 Meri Kirihimete

From all of us at the Ministry of Education, TEC, NZQA and ENZ who have worked on the COVID-19 response over the last year, we would like to thank you for your positive engagement, feedback and commitment to working with us to inform our policy, guidance and Health Orders.

We hope you all have a very restful and well-earned Christmas break.

COVID-19 Protection Framework settings  

As of 11:59pm on Thursday 30 December, the following areas, which are currently at Red, will move to Orange: Auckland, Taupō and Rotorua Lakes Districts, Kawerau, Whakatane, Ōpōtiki Districts, Gisborne District, Wairoa District, Rangitikei, Whanganui and Ruapehu Districts. The Northland area will remain at Red and the rest of the North Island and the whole of the South Island will remain at Orange. Cabinet will review these settings on Monday 17 January.

Changes to the face covering requirement at Red at tertiary education providers

This week, the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Protection Framework) Order 2021 will be amended so that the face covering requirement applies to people who are indoors at tertiary education premises while they are:

  • on the parts of the premises that are open to the public, or
  • attending formal teaching or learning activities.

Staff who are presenting (e.g. to a class), and who maintain 2-metre physical distancing from others when doing so, will be exempt from the face covering requirement.

Once this amendment is in force, we will update our COVID-19 Protection Framework guidance and Q&As to reflect this change.

COVID-19 Protection Framework: tertiary education providers – Education in New Zealand

Resources for tertiary education providers – Education in New Zealand

Update on COVID-19 case and contact management in the tertiary sector

The Ministry of Health, with support from Ministry of Education, TEC and NZQA, is developing a COVID-19 public health toolkit and step-by-step guide for tertiary providers operating under the COVID-19 Protection Framework. The toolkit will be released in the new year.  

As we transition to a minimisation and protection approach to COVID-19, we can expect to see more cases in the community. The toolkit and guide will provide information on what tertiary providers should do when they have had a COVID-19 case onsite. Tertiary providers will also be able to seek support from education agencies on managing these processes: tertiary education institutions will be supported by the TEC, and private training establishments will be supported by NZQA.

We will provide you with more details about the new process, as well as the toolkit and step by step guide early in the new year. Until then, over the holiday period, if a COVID-19 case is linked with a tertiary education or accommodation facility, the provider will be contacted by the Medical Officer of Health or their local public health authority. Alternatively, if a tertiary provider becomes aware of a case associated with their education or accommodation facility and they haven’t received notification from health authorities, they should immediately contact the TEC (Sandra Ramsay or Deidre Marshall) or their local public health unit:

For PTEs: Updating your contact information

In 2022, NZQA will be the Single Point of Contact for PTEs to engage with where a student or staff member has COVID-19. 

To help prepare for this, it is important NZQA has up to date contact information for PTEs, including an after-hours phone number. You can update these details through NZQA’s online service.

Staff vaccination requirements and secondary-tertiary programmes

We have had some queries about staff vaccination and secondary-tertiary programmes. Staff involved in secondary-tertiary programmes must be vaccinated if they are onsite at a school or school hostel. If they are involved in secondary-tertiary programmes on a tertiary site, they are also required to be vaccinated at the Red traffic light setting.

We understand some schools have requested that tertiary education providers share the vaccination status of staff who are not covered by the Vaccinations Order (for example, staff who teach on tertiary sites at Orange only), as part of their health and safety risk assessments. How tertiary providers respond to these requests is at their own discretion, however they should seek the staff members’ consent before sharing their vaccination information and ensure that legal obligations are met, including under the Privacy Act. See the Q & As on providers’ obligations when collecting and verifying vaccination information for more information.

Can tertiary education providers share staff or students’ vaccination information with third parties?

Workplace vaccination assessment tool launched

The Government has launched a new vaccination assessment tool to help businesses make decisions on COVID-19 vaccine requirements for workers. Providers can find more information about the tool and how they can use it on the business.govt.nz website:

Vaccination assessment tool — business.govt.nz

Help protect your community this summer

The Ministry of Health is currently seeking people to join the COVID-19 response this summer.

The elimination strategy and the use of alert levels have served New Zealand well. We’ve been recognised around the world for our response to managing COVID-19.

We’re now entering a new phase in our response as we move to manage COVID-19 in the community, and the Ministry is looking for people to join the COVID-19 response in a broad range of paid roles:

  • Non-clinical and support roles – e.g. home care and community support, observer and liaison roles.
  • Non-contact roles – e.g. administration and contact tracers.

For more information and to register your interest, visit the Hands Up page on the Ministry of Health website: COVID-19 Hands Up Database | Ministry of Health NZ

Email address for all tertiary and international COVID-19 related queries

A central mailbox has been set-up for all tertiary and international queries to the Ministry of Education that are related to COVID-19. This email address has been introduced to ensure there is a central point of contact that can be monitored. All future bulletins will be sent from this email address and the Ministry will continue to meet with the sector regularly. 
COVID19.TertiaryandInternational@education.govt.nz

Update: 13 December 2021: COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 Protection Framework settings  

As of 11:59pm on Thursday 2 December, the following areas are at Red: Northland, Auckland, Taupō and Rotorua Lakes Districts, Kawerau, Whakatāne, Ōpōtiki Districts, Gisborne District, Wairoa District, Rangitīkei, Whanganui and Ruapehu Districts. The rest of the North Island and the whole of the South Island is at Orange. Cabinet will review these settings today. 

Updated COVID-19 Protection Framework guidance and Q&As

We have now updated our guidance and Q&As: COVID-19 Protection Framework: tertiary education providers – Education in New Zealand

Q&As on the COVID-19 Protection Framework for students have been added to our resources page: Resources for tertiary education providers – Education in New Zealand

Our website provides the most up to date guidance for COVID-19 protection and minimisation in the tertiary education sector.  We will outline updates on the changes to our guidance through this and future bulletins as part of the shift to the COVID-19 Protection Framework. If you have feedback about this system for updates, please email us: COVID19.TertiaryandInternational@education.govt.nz

Summary of COVID-19 Protection Framework guidance updates

  • Clarified that workplaces are open at Red, but that for some workers, it may be appropriate to work from home. This aligns with updated wording on the Unite Against COVID-19 website.
  • Amended the guidance for record keeping and contact tracing to include that tertiary education providers are required to display COVID Tracer QR code posters and should have a contact tracing system in place so that each person entering the facility scans the QR code or provides details to enable contact tracing.
  • Amended the heading in the ‘Events and gatherings’ guidance section to clarify that the definition of both align with the definitions in the COVID-19 Order.
  • Changed references to “close contact” businesses to “close proximity” businesses to align with the Unite Against COVID-19 wording.
  • Condensed the number of pages to make the information easier to navigate.
  • Changed the title of the landing page from “Advice for tertiary providers and whare wānanga” to “Advice for tertiary providers” as wānanga are tertiary providers.
  • Changed references to ‘campus’ to ‘onsite’ to reflect differences between providers.

Summary of Q & A updates

  • Clarified that tertiary education requirements at Red do not apply to registered schools or government training establishments to align with the Protection Framework Order.
  • Updated tertiary provider My Vaccine Pass verification requirements onsite to align with the Protection Framework Order (systems and processes in place to verify, so far as is reasonably practicable, My Vaccine Pass compliance in relation to a reasonable number of people).
  • Added new Q & As on the following pages:
    • Q & A : Vaccination requirements at tertiary education providers:
      • How do the rules for health services under the COVID-19 Protection Framework apply on tertiary education premises?
      • What guidance is there for staff who are concerned about working with unvaccinated people?
      • What are the rules for tertiary education providers that choose to operate online only at Red?
    • Q & A : Collecting and verifying vaccination status
      • Can individuals’ vaccination information be shared within tertiary providers?
      • Can tertiary education providers share individuals’ vaccination information with third parties?
    • Added new Q & As for tertiary students
    • Updated links to the Employment New Zealand, business.govt.nz, Unite Against COVID-19, New Zealand Legislation, and Ministry of Health websites.

Case and contact management

We are working with the Ministry of Health to develop new case and contact management guidance for tertiary education providers. In the meantime, providers should follow our guidance if they become aware of a potential case that is linked to their premises or accommodation facility: Advice for tertiary providers – Education in New Zealand

If a COVID-19 case is linked with a tertiary education or accommodation facility, the provider will be contacted by the Medical Officer of Health or their local public health authority. If you become aware of a case associated with your education or accommodation facility and you haven’t received notification from health authorities, you should immediately contact Sandra Ramsay or Gillian Dudgeon or your local public health unit:

Sandra.Ramsey@tec.govt.nz

Gillian.Dudgeon@tec.govt.nz

Public health unit contacts | Ministry of Health NZ

Domestic Tertiary Student changes for children of eligible 2021 One-Off Residency Visa applicants

From 1 January 2022, children of people who hold eligible work visas for the 2021 Resident Visa pathway will benefit from domestic tertiary student status before they apply or transition to residency.

This change is intended to support them to continue their education in New Zealand before their applications for New Zealand residency are processed or granted. The change will take effect from 1 January 2022 until 31 December 2023.

Further information on the policy change is available on the Ministry of Education's website.

Guidance for tertiary providers, including guidance on what tertiary education providers will need to do to verify the eligibility of these students is on the TEC website.

To comply with Immigration New Zealand visa settings an eligible student will need to hold a student visa if they are studying for longer than three months, with conditions that allow them to study at a tertiary education provider.

Ministry of Education bulletins webpage

The Ministry has built a new space for all Ministry bulletins, including the Tertiary and International bulletin: Bulletins | He Panui | Education Bulletins

We will be transitioning from the email and attachments system we currently use to a mailing list and web-based bulletin in the coming weeks. Your feedback is welcome.  Please send your thoughts and insights to 
Alexandra.Grace@education.govt.nz.

Email address for all tertiary and international COVID-19 related queries

A central mailbox has been set-up for all tertiary and international queries to the Ministry of Education that are related to COVID-19. This email address has been introduced to ensure there is a central point of contact that can be monitored. All future bulletins will be sent from this email address and the Ministry will continue to meet with the sector regularly. 
COVID19.TertiaryandInternational@education.govt.nz

Update: 3 December 2021: COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 Protection Framework settings  

On Monday 29 November, the Prime Minister announced which settings of the COVID-19 Protection Framework the country’s regions will move to at 11:59pm, Thursday 2 December. The following areas will be at the Red setting: Northland, Auckland, Taupō and Rotorua Lakes Districts, Kawerau, Whakatāne, Ōpōtiki Districts, Gisborne District, Wairoa District, Rangitīkei, Whanganui and Ruapehu Districts. The rest of the North Island (including Waikato) and the whole of the South Island will be at the Orange setting.  Cabinet will next review these settings on Monday 13 December. 

COVID-19 Orders now available

The COVID-19 Public Health Response (Protection Framework) Order 2021 and COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Amendment Order (No 6) 2021 are now available and will come into force at 11.59pm, Thursday 2 December.

COVID-19 Public Health Response (Protection Framework) Order 2021

COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Amendment Order (No 6) 2021

The final versions of the Orders are being reviewed and any necessary changes will be made to the tertiary guidance and Q&As by early next week. Any changes will be notified in the bulletin.

Public health requirements at Red

There have been some queries about the requirements for tertiary providers at Red.   

At Red, action is needed to protect at-risk people and protect our health system from an unsustainable number of hospitalisations. The settings in place for the tertiary education sector at Red are intended to facilitate providers being open for onsite teaching, learning, research and more, while appropriately managing public health risk to keep everyone safe. At this stage, this means the following public health measures must be in place:

  • vaccination requirements (unless an exemption applies) for everyone onsite
  • capacity limits based on 1m distancing
  • face coverings for everyone indoors.

The vaccination requirement does not apply to:

  • basic needs services where access cannot be denied on the basis of vaccination status (e.g. health and disability services, licensed early childhood services and registered schools, dairies, pharmacies, supermarkets), and
  • secondary students accessing a tertiary education premises as part of their secondary-tertiary or school learning programme, and
  • individuals who have obtained a temporary medical exemption through the Ministry of Health:

COVID-19 vaccine: Exemptions and certificates | Ministry of Health NZ

These new settings, and the COVID-19 Protection Framework guidance as a whole, represent a significant shift for tertiary providers in how they will be expected to manage COVID-19 risk. WorkSafe will be taking an education-first approach to the new requirements, and will be expecting providers to make their best efforts to comply.

Your feedback is welcome on how the COVID-19 Protection Framework settings are working for providers and students. The email address for tertiary and international COVID-19 related queries to the Ministry of Education is below.

COVID19.TertiaryandInternational@education.govt.nz

Travel guidance for Orange and Red

The preliminary CPF guidance for tertiary providers advised that student and staff travel would follow the general COVID-19 Protection Framework rules. There is now information on travel available on the Unite Against COVID-19 website: 

Travel at Orange | Unite against COVID-19 (covid19.govt.nz)

Travel at Red | Unite against COVID-19 (covid19.govt.nz)

Working from home at Red

Preliminary guidance currently states that the COVID-19 Protection Framework encourages staff to work from home where possible. However, some workplaces can operate safely at Red and, where this is possible, there may be benefits from having staff in the workplace.

At Red, workplaces can be open. However, tertiary providers should ensure adequate measures are in place to operate safely as determined by a health and safety risk assessment. This may include greater use of working from home for some staff, where the risk assessment indicates that may be necessary. This clarification will be included in the updated guidance next week.

Events on tertiary education premises

The preliminary CPF guidance noted that events and gatherings that are not directly education-related would need to follow the general guidance for events and gatherings in the CPF. Some providers have sought clarification on whether educational orientation events would fall in the CPF.

Activities that are part of a teaching and learning programme (e.g. a library or orientation tours for enrolled students) should follow the general Tertiary teaching and learning guidance. However, we would expect that an event that is not part of a teaching and learning programme (e.g. an O-Week party, an open day for the public, or a conference with visitors) would need to follow the events guidance, including attendee limits.  

Suspension of 2022 Export Education Levy 

The Government has decided to suspend the Export Education Levy for the 2022 calendar year.  

This decision was informed by feedback received through the consultation process which closed on 22 September 2021. We appreciate the time and effort respondents put into the consultation and note that your responses were overwhelmingly in favour of suspending the levy. 

The levy was suspended for the 2020 and 2021 calendar years in recognition of the significant and unprecedented financial hardship being faced by the international education sector due to COVID-19 and the global pandemic. The 2022 suspension recognises the continued financial pressure on the international education sector.  

The Government will work with the International Education sector to introduce appropriate settings for 2023. In the meantime, services funded by the levy will be met by other revenue streams and matching service provision to sector and student needs. More information is available on the Ministry of Education website. 

News – Education in New Zealand

Education New Zealand webinars

Next week Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao is running two webinars to support students over summer. ENZ would appreciate you sharing this information with your students please. 

On Wednesday 8 December, 12-1pm, Careers practitioner Andrew Tui will provide practical advice on how students can use the summer to build both professional and personal skills.  There is much that students can do to better prepare for the future and Andrew will share his advice and insights.

On Thursday 9 December, 12-1pm, Constable Vipin Zinta from the New Zealand Police will share information on safety, wellbeing, travelling and the COVID-19 Protection Framework (the traffic light system). Vipin will share practical advice with students to help them have a safe and enjoyable summer.

Also, please check out and share ENZ’s ‘Summer in NZ’ pages on NauMai NZ. These pages have a focus on health and wellbeing, exploring Aotearoa New Zealand, and work and skill development.

My Vaccine Pass update

If you have been unable to get your vaccine pass online through My COVID Record, options are in place to receive your My Vaccine Pass through the post, by calling 0800 222 478, or from one of the 400 pharmacies that are currently providing COVID-19 vaccinations.

Those pharmacies can be found on the Healthpoint website: COVID-19 Vaccination • Healthpoint

You can get your My Vaccine Pass online at: My Covid Record | Ministry of Health NZ

If you are having a problem accessing My Vaccine Pass and have let the Ministry of Health know, they have put an interim solution in place while they work through it. A temporary exemption will be recorded in an individual’s request for assistance, and you will be sent an exemption email which you can use when the country shifts into the COVID-19 Protection Framework tomorrow. Over the next few days those people who did not provide an email address will be getting a phone call. 

Vaccine bookings update  

Booster doses are available free for anyone in New Zealand aged 18 years or older, who has completed their two-dose course more than 6-months ago. From today, bookings are also available for the AstraZeneca vaccine. More information can be found on the Unite against COVID-19 website.

Book your COVID-19 vaccination | Unite against COVID-19 (covid19.govt.nz)

Email address for all tertiary and international COVID-19 related queries

A central mailbox has been set-up for all tertiary and international queries to the Ministry of Education that are related to COVID-19. This email address has been introduced to ensure there is a central point of contact that can be monitored. All future bulletins will be sent from this email address and the Ministry will continue to meet with the sector regularly. 

COVID19.TertiaryandInternational@education.govt.nz

Archived bulletins (2020)

Archived bulletins (2020-21)