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COVID-19 Update

With the most recent update on the 16th of April, we are now looking forward to what Level 3 will look like for us! It has not yet been announced that we are defiantly moving into Level 3 on Wednesday the 22nd of April but we want to keep you updated as much as we can. As crazy as it seems we do not get any information faster than the general public and neither does the Ministry Of Education. The Prime Minister has announced changes in which the Ministry of Education must adapt to the announcements and then inform us of what that looks like for home-based childcare. Only then can we make a plan, make changes and alert the Playschool Family of the next steps!

As soon as we have more information then we will update the information accordingly which can be found on our website and also emailed to you. We appreciate your patience during this time while we wait to hear what level 3 looks like. Please find this website as a reference for now –https://covid19.govt.nz/alert-system/alert-level-3/

COVID-19 Update

New Care Arrangements for Essential Workers.

Initially, the Ministry of Education had approved 3 Home Based Care providers to continue to provide home-based childcare for essential workers with some tight restrictions around the ‘bubble’. This has since been updated and more services can now offer support.

Since our last update on the 29th March, we have been provided with new guidelines around who is able to offer support to Essential Workers and the requirements around this – The great news is that Playschool Education is now able to support you as an essential worker! The new guidelines around this clearly state that only Educators that are already registered with Playschool can become part of the scheme. Unfortunately, NO new Educators can be inducted during the lockdown.

We understand there may be some confusion as guidelines and policies are updating constantly and we are working hard to keep you updated with the most relevant information. We have seen conflicting information on social media by other Home-Based providers, however, we can confirm the information in this update is the most current after speaking directly with the MOE.

Regarding the subsidy for essential workers that the Government is offering, Playschool has been approved to access this on behalf of any essential worker’s care arrangement, however, this applies only for NEW arrangements. This does not extend to changes in any current care arrangements, i.e. increased hours because kindy/daycare is close. If you are unsure then please get in-touch.

COVID-19 Update

Hi everyone!

We hope you are all doing OK! We just wanted to check in and update you with some valuable information that we have received from the New Zealand Government. Our number one priority as always is to support you during your Au Pair adventure and provide you with honest, up to date and relevant information.

At this time, we know that some Au Pairs are trying to head home – and we understand why, this is a difficult time and you would want to be surrounded by family. However, from the start Playschool has been advising against this as the difficulty on securing a flight has been evident, and prices have been very expensive.

There was a mercy flight intended from Germany, but from new information from the New Zealand Government this is potentially not going ahead as planned – essentially, they have stopped this due to the travel restrictions around New Zealand we are experiencing under lockdown. Please click on this link.

The problem that now arises is, if you have registered for this flight and left your family because you believed you would be offered a seat, you may now be without support. From the information we have received flights that may still happen are for those who are: elderly, young, sick or immune compromised. Unfortunately, you may not qualify for these priorities and remember also you are in a better position than most – you have accommodation, food and more than likely are still needed for work while host parents are working from home or out on the frontline. The reason I say this is because once you have ended your contract with your family and are headed home you no longer fall under Playschool support. This means that Playschool is now under no obligation to offer our emergency accommodation. The host family you have left likely will have also contacted us straight away and secured another Au Pair – meaning that returning to your host family may not be an option. If you can go back to your host family you only may be offered board and food but no pocket money until the lockdown is lifted.

This update is not to cause more stress, as we understand already how stressed and even frightened you may be, however now is the time to be realistic and we want to stress how important it is to stay with your host family so that you will not be stranded. This is the safest option for you – we have already been dealing with the fall out of Au Pairs leaving families and expecting to be on the flight but are now stranded somewhere having to pay for accommodation at premium prices. Again, this update is not to distress you, but to offer you correct information and assist you through this lockdown.


Au Pair COVID-19 Information

Please find below Playschool Au Pair’s latest information regarding Coronavirus. We will be updating this page regularly, so check back for further updates.

it’s important that you follow the recommendations and regulations made by the New Zealand government plus know the facts! Refer to this website for up to date information www.covid19.govt.nz or call the free government helpline on 0800  779 997 (8am – 1am, 7 days a week).

Protecting yourself and your whaanau

The Ministry of Health lists some simple steps to take to protect yourself & others from COVID-19:

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cough or sneeze by covering your mouth and nose with tissues, if you don’t have a tissue then cough or sneeze into your elbow or upper sleeve.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
  • Try to avoid close contact with people – a 2m distance is recommended. This includes personal contact, such as kissing, shared cups or food.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects.

Call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 if you have ANY symptoms, have been overseas and returned within the last 2 weeks or have been in close contact with someone who is a confirmed case.

Level 4 COVID-19 Alert which starts at 11:59pm on March 25 and will continue for 4 weeks. 

What does this mean for me?
New Zealanders not working in essential services must stay at home and stop all interactions with others outside of your household – this is an essential part in eradicating the disease.

What can I do during this time?
You may go for a walk or exercise – you must always keep a 2m distance from people. Remember, you can always only spend time with the household family members while keeping a distance from all others.

Food and medicine will continue to be available.

All schools and Early Childhood Centres will be closed.

All indoor and outdoor events including social gatherings such as birthdays, funerals, or weddings cannot go ahead.

Healthcare for those that need it will be available – If you need to see a doctor or other medical professional you MUST phone first. Phone consultations will now happen over the phone (or via video). If a face to face meeting is required, then a doctor or other medical professional will organise this for you. If you are severely unwell, contact emergency services (dial 111).

Travel in New Zealand is limited and not advised unless essential. Public transport will only be available for those working in essential services, for medical reasons or to get to the supermarket.

If you have COVID-19 related concerns, please call Healthline (0800 258 5453) for advice before you travel.

Playschool is open for business as normal with staff working from home. You can stay connected with us through our email updates, phone or text plus through our social channels – Facebook and Instagram. Also don’t hesitate to contact us via phone or email if you have any questions or concerns.

Q & A – COVID-19

My au pair is not following the lockdown rules and/or doesn’t understand them.
You MUST talk to them ASAP. This is a government rule and non-negotiable. Please use this website www.covid19.co.nz as reference – the FAQ page has simple information that all will be able to understand.

I can no longer afford to pay my Au Pair the agreed upon amount outlined in the placement agreement, but I still want to keep them – What do I do now?
Talk to your Au Pair today! With each family the situation is different – knowing in advance what changes are being made to their working situation is important but in this unprecedented time we understand things are rushed and potentially last-minute decisions are being made. Explain the new family situation with your Au Pair and how things will look for the next 4+ weeks – Your au pair will then have to decide if they are happy to be flexible with your family during this lockdown period.

I want to finish the placement early – what is the next step? (Families and Au Pairs)
Talk to your host family or Au Pair today! Due to the lockdown situation in New Zealand we urge you to keep your placement going but understand that your situation may have changed. We will support you as much as we can with the decision, but you need to text, call or email us so we know what is happening and we can then go from there! If you are an Au Pair that has been asked to finish early – we can rehome you for the remainder of your placement. Please note: if we are unable to rehome the Au Pair and due to the current government lockdown you may need to accommodate your Au Pair/Host family until a rehome or flight is available  – this may result in a much longer stay than originally planned. Get in touch so we can discuss your individual situation.

The job description has changed – how will this impact the placement? Firstly, we understand that things are changing at a fast pace, but you MUST talk to your Au Pair as soon as you have an idea of the changes. Especially if it means greater or lesser hours, change to the type of care required and if the pocket money is affected. This also means that with schools and Early Childhood Centres shutting down that the children will be kept at home for longer periods of time than normal. Has your work situation changed? Are you are now working from home? Explain how this will work. We recommend setting up a new schedule, roster and routine – write it down and explain how it will work. It will be a trial and error type of situation and each family is different so you will have to find what works for you!

I am searching for an Au Pair but with the lockdown what now?
Seen as New Zealand has gone into lockdown as of the 25th of March at 11:5pm there will be no incoming Au Pairs until the current travel restrictions are lifted. We will be proceeding with interviews and placements for July onwards as normal.

I am an Au pair registered for a flight back to my home country –
I have missed out and will need to stay in New Zealand. What are my options now?
Playschool will endeavour to help you find a family to live and work with for the lockdown period and beyond. Due to the lockdown restrictions, you are unable to travel outside of your area so please get in touch and let us know where you are currently and then we can start the matching process. If we do not have a family in your area, then you will need to be aware of your other available options.

Please note: If you have chosen to leave your family and are now stranded, we will provide emergency accommodation at the cost of $30 per night in Auckland. You will need to make your own way to the homestay and then to the airport or new host family. This is not the responsibility of Playschool. Also be aware that if you have been in contact with a possible or confirmed case of COVID-19 including the possibility that you have been travelling around before the lockdown was started, you may be required to self-isolate for the minimum of two weeks. Self-isolation guidelines can be found here – https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-novel-coronavirus-health-advice-general-public/covid-19-self-isolation.

We are continuing to monitor the situation – please refer to the www.covid19.govt.nz website for regular updates and information. If you have any specific questions regarding your current or future placement please do not hesitate to contact out team on +64 9 478 4990 or at [email protected]