Path to reopening Early Learning needs more time

22 April 2020

The Early Childhood Education sector is willing to open and help bring New Zealand out of lockdown provided key concerns are addressed.

“Our primary job is keeping everyone safe and healthy. To work through safety concerns for children, teachers and staff, we still need time and flexibility.”

“This is too important to rush and ideally, we still believe centres should not open until Alert Level 2.”

“As a real world example – making playgrounds out of bounds makes it impossible to open. If small operators can’t use outdoor play equipment safely, they simply won’t meet spacing requirements,” said ECC CEO Peter Reynolds.

Key hurdles to opening centres include:

  • Safe environments are a key element of ECE. Cleaning centres between bubbles will quickly become unworkable
  • Recommendations around parent drop off are impractical
  • Funding – many centres are already hanging on by their fingertips, and opening for a handful of students is uneconomic
  • Carrier transmission – our concerns haven’t gone away. We appreciate this is a fast-moving situation and evidence is still emerging, but serious questions remain

“ECE wants to play its part to get the economy moving - when we have the answers to key questions and an assurance staff and children are safe, we support centres reopening. Until then we should look at options like home care for children of essential workers.”

“We will continue working with the Ministry of Education to address concerns raised by our members and parents in our community as we work toward opening,” said Mr Reynolds.

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