Saturday, April 13, 2024

Ten million masks set for Term 3 return

Ten million special child-sized face masks will be distributed to New Zealand school children at the start of Term 3, Minister of Education, Jan Tinetti announced today.

“This means there will be 50 child size masks provided for every child in years 4 to 7 in schools and Kura throughout the country from now until the end of the 2022,” the Minister said.

“This is in addition to the adult sized mask offered to all school children from year 8 and up. Around 20,000-30,000 masks are already being distributed to students and staff every week across the country.”

The Government will also be providing additional funding this winter to encourage schools and centre-based early childhood services to maintain healthy levels of heating and ventilation as part of an effort to reduce colds, flu and COVID from spreading across the childhood education sector.

“Good ventilation over winter can lead to some heat loss and higher heating bills. The winter energy payments will help reassure schools and services that they can balance heating and ventilation, without unaffordable energy bills,” said Ms Tinetti. 

“The Government does not usually explicitly fund energy costs for services, but the COVID-19 pandemic is a unique situation. The scientific evidence is clear that good ventilation helps prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

The Government has already provided every school in New Zealand with CO2 monitors to help them identify spaces where maintaining good ventilation is proving more challenging, and bought more than 8,000 air cleaners to help improve the ventilation in these areas.

The Minister said every school has access to more air cleaners at no cost if needed to help supplement their approach to ventilation this winter.

“I want thank our teachers, principals and parents, who are doing a fantastic job at keeping infection rates down. I’m pleased we are able to provide this extra support to help get through winter,” Ms Tinetti said.

Yesterday the seven-day rolling average of COVID-19 cases was 5,808 and there were 395 people in hospital and 8 in ICU.

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