Vaccination information for schools and kura, early learning services, visitors to Ministry worksites

Vaccination information for schools and kura, early learning services, visitors to Ministry worksites

General information for early learning services, schools and kura, parents, whānau and visitors, including those who access Ministry worksites.

Vaccines explained

No vaccination requirement for students in schools and kura

All registered schools (including private schools), all school hostels (including private hostels), and all school transport services (for all students) are prohibited from requiring proof of vaccination (either via My Vaccine Pass or other tool) as a condition of using or accessing education.

This prohibition applies to all children, students and their parents or caregivers.
This means that a person’s vaccination status should not restrict learning for children and young people. Neither should it restrict parents and caregivers from supporting their children in their learning.

All children and young people, regardless of their vaccination status, can participate in school-organised teams and groups, or as an individual representing the school, in a competition or event. This applies whether on the school site or off the school site, but to registered schools only. All students should be treated by venues and organisers as vaccinated.

Unvaccinated children aged over 12 years and 3 months may continue to be prevented from participating in some activities if they are participating in a team or group not from their school. For example, a student playing for a senior club hockey team will still need to provide a vaccine pass if the competition or venue requires evidence of vaccination from all participants.

Those aged under 12 years and 3 months are able to participate in school activities both onsite and offsite regardless of their vaccination status.

Other events and activities

For other events and activities organised by the school, eg, school balls, school fairs, out-of-hours music and art programmes, and following a risk assessment and health and safety review, a decision may need to be made whether to require evidence of vaccination, or not. Schools and kura should clearly communicate with their community if vaccination requirements will apply for such events, and the reasons for doing so. 

It is likely following a risk assessment that the majority of school events would not require evidence of vaccination.

Education Outside The Classroom (EOTC) activities

Click below for vaccination guidance for EOTC providers. 

COVID-19 Vaccination Order

All workers and volunteers in early learning services, schools and kura are no longer required to be vaccinated to work with children or students, or to work on site where children and young people might be present. This took effect at 11.59pm Monday 4 April 2022.

For school boards

With staff already highly vaccinated, school boards will need to consider what work, if any will continue to be undertaken by a vaccinated worker. 

Schools will need to clearly communicate any decisions made in this regard, with their community. 

Click below for more guidance, which includes implications for employment processes and advice around assessing if specific work requires a vaccination.

Vaccine status is private information

A person’s vaccination status is personal information under the Privacy Act 2020. An organisation can ask for this information if it is for a lawful purpose and the information is necessary for that purpose. Requesting information to comply with a COVID-19 Order mandating vaccination to protect the health and safety of both staff and students would meet this threshold.    
  
As a general rule, information regarding vaccination status is not required to be provided to schools or kura. However, a COVID-19 Order will make it a requirement by law that employees provide this information and will set out what information is required to be provided and to whom. If an employee does not provide evidence of vaccination, the employee is deemed to be unvaccinated.    
   
Where information regarding a person’s vaccination status is obtained, the usual requirements around collecting, recording, using and storing personal information will apply. Given the sensitivity of the information being collected, careful consideration will need to be given to ensure no unauthorised access to the information.      

Where a person is concerned about working onsite because they are higher risk of severe illness due to COVID-19, they should provide you with appropriate medical evidence to support this.

Personal information about vaccine status must be protected and cannot be shared without the staff member’s consent. 

Vaccination and privacy – Office of the Privacy Commissioner

Visitors to Ministry worksites

COVID-19 Vaccination policy

The Ministry of Education’s COVID-19 Vaccination policy goes into effect on 26 January 2022, visitors who enter Ministry worksites are required to show evidence of vaccination in most cases.

Visitors are required to complete a brief COVID-19 health screening. They will be asked if they are fully vaccinated, and they should be prepared to show their My Vaccine Pass as evidence.

Visitors receiving Essential Education Services

The COVID-19 Vaccination policy does not apply to any education services provided by the Ministry, where there is no alternative equivalent means of providing the service. The Ministry is required to provide essential education services, regardless of the person’s vaccination status.

For these visitors who are unvaccinated or choose not to disclose their vaccination, the preference is to arrange delivery of these services remotely, where possible. If this is not possible, people seeking these services at our worksites will be required to follow our Health and Safety protocols.

What is an Essential Education Service

“Essential education services” are the set of services provided by the Ministry of Education where denial of that service to an unvaccinated parent or child would constitute a denial of access to education. This includes all the things we do to enable children to:

  • continue their schooling or ECE,
  • access that education, or
  • be safe in the case of a health and safety issue.

Education services matters requiring a visit or meeting at a Ministry worksite may include:

  • a child or young person
  • a parent, caregiver or guardian
  • other relevant people including Ministry or external advisors.