What Alert Level 3 looks like for ECE

16 April 2020

Jacinda Ardern today outlined what COVID-19 alert level 3 will look like. On Monday, we'll learn if and when we'll move there from level 4.

You still have time - but you should start preparing to re-open now.

Here's a quick summary of what was announced today:

What's been announced today?

  • Our goal remains to eliminate COVID-19 - level 3 is about restricting contact
  • Partial re-opening of ECE centres
  • Voluntary attendance - particularly for children of parents returning to work in 'safe' workplaces
  • Centres need to operate small bubbles of children to help prevent any spread of disease
  • Parents still encouraged to keep their children home if they can

What do you need to do?

  • Read the government advice on level 3 and plan for re-opening
  • Involve your team in planning how we return to work
  • Communicate with parents about the services you will offer and reassurance around safety measures you'll have in place
  • Think about how you will manage pick up and drop offs - often it's people coming into your centre that pose the biggest risk of virus transmission

Stand by for more information

We don't have all the information we need yet, and expect more detail to follow from the Ministry of Education over the coming days. Some areas we're seeking clarification on include:

  • How will Ministry funding work considering centres can expect a limited return of children, and those who can access insurance will lose this once the government moves to level 3?
  • Will the Childcare Subsidy from Work and Income start up again?
  • How do we identify families of “safe” businesses, or we taking all?
  • What does “voluntary” mean and how will that work?
  • Is it the government’s view that centres might now consider re-instituting fees? Should centres look to taking a flexible approach toward their fees policies with parents returning from lockdown?
  • What does a 'small bubble' mean? Is this about instituting regulated group size and if so, what is the basis for the proposal?
  • What about centres that have a significant amount of teachers who fall under the at-risk category and cannot work?

We know you'll have questions of your own - we will do our best to answer them, and will share more information as we get it.

More information


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