Guidance for school hostels

Guidance for school hostels

Guidance for school hostels while operating under the COVID-19 Protection Framework.

Infection prevention and control

Hostels need to implement robust infection control measures to minimise the spread of COVID-19. The measures will vary at each traffic light setting and also depend on the risk assessment and context for the hostel at the time. For example, when case numbers are higher in the school community, measures used may include airing out rooms in between use by different groups, using only rooms which are well-ventilated, grouping boarders so that they do not intermingle with other groups, and staggering mealtimes.

Anyone in the hostel who is symptomatic (even if only very mild symptoms) must be encouraged to get tested for COVID-19.

Managing cases

Business continuity planning will need to include how to respond to cases whether in staff or boarders, and at all settings of the COVID-19 Protection Framework.

Boarders and staff living in the hostel who are identified as a confirmed case will be required to isolate for 7 days.

Isolating from others: COVID-19 – Ministry of Health NZ

Anyone from the hostel who is a close contact of that case, is not required to isolate, however as a precaution you may choose to ask them to isolate for a period of time following their last exposure to the case.  There is no legal requirement for this to occur. A period of 7 days from their last exposure is recommended should they choose to isolate (this assumes they are isolating separately from the case).

There may be a number of boarders who will need to remain isolating in the hostel as they cannot safely return to their home, including international students. Planning must take this into account.

Where cases isolate at the hostel:

  • They should be separated as much as is practicable from others
  • Cases can isolate together
  • Close contacts choosing to isolate, should be separated as much as is practicable from others, but may isolate together
  • Close contacts can isolate with the case, but there is an obvious risk of transmission of the virus if sharing the same room while the case is infectious

Close contacts living in the hostel are recommended to:

  • get a test if they develop any COVID-19 symptoms
  • isolate until a negative test result, and
  • continue isolating for further 24 hours after symptoms are gone.

Supporting boarders’ and staff health and wellbeing continues to be a priority.

Please inform your regional Te Mahau contact to let them know of any cases connected with your hostel. 

Regional Te Mahau contacts

Guidance for school hostels

Refer to the guidance below to support health and safety under the COVID-19 Protection Framework. It also provides proactive steps that can be taken to ensure the facility is safe for others living there.

Hostel staff in critical roles - Close Contact Exemption scheme

As part of the Omicron response, school hostel staff in critical roles who have been identified as a household contact of a COVID-19 case may be eligible to continue working under the Close Contact Exemption Scheme. 

Staff who can continue to work under the scheme must follow public health measures. Hostels must have systems and processes in place to support these, and staff must comply with them.

Hostel regulations

Click below for further information and regulations around setting up or running a school hostel. 

Running a hostel — Ministry of Education