22 Mar 2020

Covid-19: Kōhanga reo to identify vulnerable kaumātua needing support

8:50 pm on 22 March 2020

Kōhanga reo are bracing themselves amid the threat of Covid-19 by allowing kōhanga reo trust staff to work from home, and temporarily banning large hui, wānanga and travel for kaimahi at kōhanga.

Kohanga Reo National Trust HQ in Wellington.

Kōhanga Reo National Trust in Wellington. (File photo). Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

The Kōhanga Reo National Trust quickly geared into action on 4 March, informing whānau of ways to protect themselves against the virus and urging kōhanga reo to familiarise themselves with the kōhanga reo pandemic plans.

In a statement, the trust said it was aware kaumātua were particularly vulnerable to the virus, and they were in the process of identifying kaumātua with other health needs to provide them with additional support.

"All kōhanga reo have pandemic plans against influenza of which coronavirus is strain of. Kōhanga reo were advised to take a look at those plans and begin familiarising themselves with it.

"We encourage best hygiene and well-being practices, as well as updating all contacts and ensuring the wellbeing of the most vulnerable, kaumātua and our babies."

"Whānau were advised to keep their babies home if sick as well as kaimahi. Our district kaimahi were mobilised to ensure that kōhanga reo has access to services should they need medical or otherwise. Self-isolation was floated but decisions were ultimately made by whānau in regards to meeting the individual needs of each kōhanga reo."

The trust said some kaimahi were trialling working from home to complete administration tasks.

"The $2.5 million upgrade of our ICT infrastructure proved its worth with our kaimahi trialling working remotely from home.

"Kōhanga reo [are] encouraged to stay open, they are an oasis for many of our whānau. Kōhanga reo whānau and babies with heart, diabetes, respiratory and who are already sick encouraged to stay home."

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