May 11, 2020

Covid-19 March 19th Update – To Families

Dear Host Families, The global outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is top of mind for individuals across the world.

Dear Host Families,

The global outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is top of mind for individuals and organizations across the world. Host Families NZ hopes you are keeping yourself and your family safe and away from the virus.

Following the Ministry of Health’s guidelines, all new arrivals from the 16th of March will need to self isolate for 14 days apart from category 2 countries. Please check the link here to find out more information from the Ministry of Health.

In response to this new policy, we are sending you this email with our plans around Coronavirus (CONVID-19). Host Families NZ wishes to work closely with you and provide as much support as we can. We will let you know if there are any further updates.

What to do if you have a student staying with you?

The Covid-19 outbreak is causing concern for many of us and can be especially hard for students who are a long way from home. They may have come from countries that have been or are being deeply affected by the virus. They may be receiving messages and communication from worried friends and family.

There are many things you can do to support your student mental health (or that of your own children) during this time

  • Take time to talk with them about the COVID-19 outbreak. Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that they can understand. • Reassure them that they are safe. Let them know it is ok if they feel worried. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you. Remind them of practical things they can do to keep safe ie:
  • Washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before and after eating as well as after attending the toilet o Covering coughs and sneezes with clean tissues or with an elbow o Putting used tissues in the bin o Encouraging staff and students to stay home if they are unwell.
  • Just be aware the student/interns/visitors may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand, let them know you are available to talk through any concerns.
  • Try to keep up with regular routines. If schools are closed, create a schedule for learning activities and relaxing or fun activities.
  • If you think your student has become unwell you can call the Healthline 0800 358 5453 or local medical centre for advice
  • If you think your student is unduly worried or you notice changes in their behaviour you can contact Host Families or their school for further support
  • Host families Daytime number 09358-1531 After hours/Emergency number 021 026 91882

Also, please advise HFNZL if you have any family members/visitors recently arrived from overseas and undergoing self-isolation or scheduled to have self-isolation.

Does Host Families NZ still have new students coming?

Yes, we do. However, the health of you and your family is a priority for us. We have suggested all our partner schools and agents find alternative self-isolation places for new arrivals. As a result, many new arrivals have cancelled or delayed their trip to New Zealand.

At the same time, we also understand for some families, the homestay income is vital. If you are willing to host students during this time, please complete the link below and let us know your availability to host. We will try our best to see what can we do. We may receive bookings from schools after the student has completed the 14 days self-isolation and the students are symptoms free.

Please complete this link with your availability to host.

What do you need to know if you are hosting someone who needs self-isolation?

You must follow the guidance from the Ministry of Health, such as:

  • Minimise close contact with the student, which means no handshake, no hugs, no greeting kisses
  • Avoiding face-to-face contact which is closer than 2 metres for more than 15 minutes
  • The students/interns/visitors would need to have dinner in their bedroom, have his/her own cups, eating utensils, towels, pillows or other items. After using these items, the student should wash them thoroughly with soap and water, place them separately
  • The student/intern/visitor can go outside, but they need to limit their contact with others. It’s okay to go for a walk, run or ride a bike, as long as they avoid people who aren’t self-isolating.
  • The student/intern/visitor would not be allowed to use public transport, taxis or similar transport methods during your 14-day period. They can use public transport after they first arrive in New Zealand for the sole purpose of returning to home but cannot use it after that. They can use their own transport means (car, bike etc) whenever they wish.
  • The student would need to use good hygiene which means they need to 1) Wash their hands for more than 20 seconds with soap and wash them often 2) Cover their coughs and sneezes

Please double-check with your students when they arrive and make sure they are following these guidelines. If there are any concerns, please let us know as soon as possible.

The Ministry of Health has also mentioned that:

“The majority of people who need to self-isolate, especially those returning from overseas, will be healthy. If they self-isolate properly and cleaners follow appropriate guidelines, there should be no risk to you or your future customers.”

We have also attached the appropriate guidelines (General cleaning information for COVID-19) attached along with this email

What to do if the student feels unwell?

  • If the student becomes unwell while self-isolation, they would need to contact Healthline for free on 0800 358 5453.
  • The symptoms of COVID-19 are cough, fever, and shortness of breath.
  • If the student needs to call emergency services, please let the Healthline official know that they are in self-isolation.

At the same time, please let HFNZL know immediately of your students’ condition. We will inform their schools/agents.

If you have any other questions, please let us know. We will keep you updated if we have any changes.

Kind Regards,
Host Families NZ Team

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