Advice on mask wearing in schools
25 July 2022
For Term 3, the Ministries of Health and Education recommend students Year 4 and above wear masks indoors for the next four weeks of term.
Following is a letter to all school communities from the Hon Jan Tinetti informing school boards outlining the Government’s strong recommendation to review and enforce a mask wearing policy as much as practicable.
Masking up for the start of Term 3
In previous years we have found there is an increase in winter illnesses in schools at the start of Term 3 as students bring back infections after travelling and socialising during the holidays. This year cases of COVID-19 are increasing in most parts of the country, and we are also seeing high numbers of other winter illnesses.
For the start of Term 3, 2022, the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health strongly recommend that all schools and kura amend their mask policy for the first four weeks of term to require mask wearing in all indoor settings (where it will not have a significant impact on teaching and learning – see below) for students in Years 4 and above.
This recommendation does not include any situation where mask wearing might not be practicable, such as while eating and drinking, playing certain musical instruments, indoor sport, where it will have a significant impact on teaching and learning (for example, students with particular learning needs), certain activities such as singing or drama performance on stage, and PE. In these situations, particular attention should be paid to ensuring there is good ventilation during the activity, and physical distancing where practicable.
Wearing masks can reduce new cases of the virus by as much as 53%. It works alongside other measures including vaccination, good ventilation, staying home when sick, and hand washing and other hygiene measures, to protect our students and staff.
Adult-sized masks can generally be adjusted to fit older children by tying knots in the ear loops. Unite Against COVID-19 shows how to do this:
We know that that some of our tamariki/ākonga are exempt from wearing a mask. If they have an exemption card or a letter from their health provider, or we have agreed that mask wearing is not practicable for them, we will support them to not wear a mask.
Please make sure that tamariki/ākonga come to school ready to wear masks. Students should bring masks from home. If students cannot bring masks there will be a limited supply of masks for students who are unable to bring one from home. We continue to ask that all adults wear masks while indoors.
Thank you for your support in protecting our school community.
Noho ora mai