January 29, 2020

Novel coronavirus: Information for caregivers and whānau of learners

Information about Novel coronavirus for caregivers and whānau of learners

As you will have seen in the media the situation is rapidly evolving internationally concerning the coronavirus.

This is a new virus and its specific nature is currently unclear, however it appears that you can have the virus at an early stage and not be showing any symptoms.  This incubation period is currently considered to be up to 14 days.

Your children and young people are currently returning to classrooms or early learning services. The health of your child is a priority for us all.  We encourage you to err on the side of caution and here are some steps you can take.

  • If your child is unwell they should not be at their early learning service or school. Please contact Healthline at 0800 611 116 or your GP for medical advice. Healthline has translators and interpreters available 24/7 in 150 languages and they do have Mandarin and Cantonese speaking staff available.

  • For child who may be at high risk of exposure because they have travelled recently to China or have been in close contact with someone confirmed with the virus, I encourage you to consider having your child delay the start of their school year for 14 days or delay attending their early learning service and voluntarily stay away.

  • If your child attends school or an early learning institution while showing symptoms then they may be asked to return home by the Principal of a state school, an early learning service provider or home-based educator.

Iona Holsted
Secretary for Education

Other useful information

In terms of keeping yourself and family well, the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests the following:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Wash hands frequently, especially after contact with ill people or their environment
  • Avoid close contact with sick farm animals or wild animals
  • People with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette: maintain distance, cover mouth, cover coughs or sneezes with disposable cloths or clothing.

District Health Boards

You can also contact your local District Health Board if you require further information:

Public Health Unit contacts