Guidance for school hostels

You will already have a plan for managing health and safety. This guidance will assist you to review and update that plan to reflect the public health measures at each alert level. Work with your staff to do this, including your elected health and safety representatives.

Hostels/schools, as a 'person conducting a business or undertaking' (PCBU), have obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2005 to ensure the health and safety of its staff, children and the public. You must also comply with the Education (Hostels) Regulations 2005.

Guidance for school hostels at Alert Levels 1–4 [DOCX, 80 KB]

Further guidance on alert levels

Summary of alert levels

The below table summarises the differences between Alert Levels 1, 2 and 3.

Alert Level 1

Alert Level 2

Alert Level 3

There are no restrictions on personal movement at Alert Level 1. All children should attend school.

Children at higher-risk of severe illness from COVID-19 (e.g. those with underlying medical conditions, especially if not well-controlled) are encouraged to take additional precautions when leaving home. Parents, caregivers and boarders will need to work with the hostel management to develop a plan to manage a return to school/hostel safely. Distance learning will continue to be available to those who choose to remain at home.

Children at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 are encouraged to stay home wherever possible.

There are no restrictions on personal movement at Alert Level 1. All staff are able to work at the hostel.

Staff at higher-risk of severe illness from COVID-19 are able to work on-site if they can do so in a safe way. Staff and employers should discuss and agree whether additional control measures can be put in place, whether these workers can work from home, or if not, what leave and pay arrangements will apply.

Staff who are have a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 are able to go to work but may also choose not to do so and to continue to work from home, where possible.

Wash and dry hands, cough into elbow, don’t touch your face.

 No change.

No change.

If people are sick, they should stay home (stay in the hostel, isolate the boarder or staff member and seek medical advice through Healthline or your GP – get tested if they have cold or flu symptoms).

 No change.

No change.

Schools connected to a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 must close on an individual or group basis for 72 hours to allow contact tracing and cleaning. They could be closed for a further 14 days (but open for distance learning) – schools will work with public health units to manage this and the direction to close will come from the Medical Officer of Health. This may require boarders to have to either stay in the hostel or be sent home for the duration of the school closure. Health authorities will provide advice on this.

COVID-19 in your school or early learning service [DOCX, 809 KB]

No change.

No change.

Stringent self-isolation of those who display relevant symptoms of COVID-19, test positive for COVID-19, have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19, or have been overseas in the last 14 days.

COVID-19: Self-isolation for close contacts – Ministry of Health(external link)

 No change.

No change.

There are no restrictions on physical activities including cultural and sporting activities, practices and events.

Physical education and break time activities can include access to sports equipment including playgrounds but hygiene practice should be observed before and after playing with equipment.

Physical and recreational activities cannot include sports with less than two metres physical distance or where the same equipment is touched by different students (balls, ropes, sticks, etc)

Regular cleaning and disinfecting of commonly touched surfaces is recommended.

Disinfect and clean all surfaces daily.

No change.

Hostels are no longer required to keep a contact tracing register, but as is usual practice will need to keep a visitor register and keep track of when boarders are at the hostel (and will need to work with local health authorities to identify close contacts, should there be a case connected with the school/hostel).

Hostels are encouraged to display QR code posters for the NZ COVID Tracer App.

Contact tracing registers must be in place and identify which boarders are in which common space, record when and who they have contact with if that changes. This includes recording who the adults are in contact as well as recording any visitors to the site, including parents.

No change. Boarders are not required to sit in the same place in common areas at Alert Level 2, so consideration needs to be given to how this will be managed for contact tracing purposes.

Hostel staff are to observe boarders, checking for COVID-like symptoms and ask those presenting as unwell to go into an isolated area while medical advice is sought.  Please note, this does not mean that temperatures are to be taken (unless someone is showing signs of having a high temperature or fever and you are providing medical care and support).

No change.

No change.

Soap, water and the ability to dry hands should be provided in bathrooms.

Hand sanitiser should made be available in dining areas and other common areas. Soap, water and the ability to dry hands must be provided in bathrooms. If hand sanitiser is in short supply, washing and drying hands with soap is still the most effective hygiene measure.

Hand sanitiser should made be available in dining areas and other common areas.

There are no restrictions on gatherings at Alert Level 1.

Hostels are not considered to be gatherings under Alert Level 2. Therefore there are no bubbles and no need to stagger your timetable.

The exception is where people from outside the hostel or school may be attending a function or event. In these examples and if you are hiring out or allowing community groups to use your facilities, the mass gathering rules will apply.

As do schools, you will need to break your boarders into small groups (hostel bubbles) who stay separate from other bubbles in your hostel, in order to reduce risk of possible spread of the virus.

There is no restriction on personal movement.

Boarders do not need to sit in the same place in common areas at Alert Level 2. Contact tracing will still need to be in place.

To support contact tracing, boarders should sit in the same places each time they are in their bubble’s common areas.

Physical distancing is not a requirement but where possible or practicable is encouraged when you are around people you don’t know.

Boarders and staff should be far enough away from each other so that they are not breathing on or touching each other, coupled with good hygiene practices and regular cleaning of commonly touched surfaces. There does not need to be a specific measurement but where practicable one metre can be used as a guide, particularly between adults. Practice should be sensible.

Physical distancing was two metres outside and one metre inside previously.

There are no restrictions on physical activities including cultural and sporting activities, practices and events.

Physical education and other break time activities can include access to sports equipment including playgrounds but hygiene practice should be observed before and after playing with equipment. There will also need to be regular cleaning of shared equipment such as balls, sticks etc.

Physical distance is not possible in some sporting activities. In these situations extra emphasis on handwashing and drying (or cleansing with hand sanitiser) before and after activities and regular cleaning of equipment is very important.

Physical and recreational activities cannot include sports with less than two metres physical distance or where the same equipment is touched by different students (balls, ropes, sticks, etc.).

 

There are no travel restrictions.

At Alert Level 2, people are advised to travel safely. There are no restrictions on travelling to the hostel for drop offs and pick-ups or weekend’s at home.

Generally, minimising travel within a region and between neighbouring regions is encouraged except for essential travel. There were some limitations for boarders who lived further than the hostel region or neighbouring regions.

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