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Policy Making

Chuck Schooner made this Official Information request to Ministry of Education

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From: Chuck Schooner

Dear Ministry of Education,

Can you please provide the following

- goals/objectives of Ministry of Education
- primary stakeholders with who MOE is to serve in order of the hierarchy - eg children etc - are they the most important or are their other interested parties ahead of them
- process to implement policy eg recommendation, submissions, consultation, feedback, costs and benefits, how the policy is to be measured
- please provide how this would work when there is not a pandemic
- can you now please provide the process as to how the policy of masks in schools was implemented
- please provide a cost/benefit analysis of masks in schools - if one was not done then why not?
- please provide any and all warnings with masking children relating to hypoxia - did the ministry of health consider this - should a student suffer hypoxia who would be liable
- please provide any information considered on communication difficulties and impact on learning due to masking - did the ministry consider this - if not why not?
- please provide considerations on the impact of students suffering heat strokes, respiratory issues due to masks - was there any consideration of these issues
- has MOE considered long term issues associated with masking children - if not why not
- the Director General of Health is on record stating they are there for little more than show
- ultimately I want to see normal process policy versus the rushing through of policy likely to have short and long term impacts on the next generation
- please provide reporting and decision making for masks in schools
- please provide any and all recommendations from politicians, MOH officials or if this was a direct order from an agency or person
- please provide how the costs or benefits of implementing this policy are to be measured

Yours faithfully,
Chuck

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From: Enquiries National

Tēnā koe mō tō īmēra mai ki te Tāhuhu o Thank you for your email to the
te Mātauranga.   Ministry of Education.  

     

He urupare aunoa tēnei hei whakaatu kua This is an auto generated response
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ki a mātou. Kaua noa e whakautu i tēnei received. Please do not respond to this
karere.   message.  

     

Mea ake nei ka urupare tonu atu mātou ki We will respond to your email as soon
tō īmēra.   as possible.  

 

  

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From: Enquiries National


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Kia ora Chuck Schooner    

 

Thank you for your request for information below.  The Ministry will
consider and respond to your request in accordance with the Official
Information Act 1982 (the Act).

 

Under section 15(1) of the Act, we are required to make and inform you of
our decision on your request as soon as reasonably practicable and in any
case not later than 20 working days after the day on which your request is
received.  You can therefore expect to receive our decision on your
request on or before the 2 March 2022.  If more than 20 working days are
needed due to the potential workload and/or consultations involved in
answering your request, we will notify you accordingly.

 

The Ministry may publicly release on our website the response to your
request five days after you have received it. Any personal information
will be removed.

 

In the interim, if you have any questions about your request, please email
[1][email address].

 

Ngā mihi

 

Enquiries National Team | Ministry of Education - TW
[2]education.govt.nz  |  [3]Follow us on Twitter: @educationgovtnz

[4]Te TD huhu o te MD tauranga

 

 

 

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From: Enquiries National


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Tēnā koe Chuck

 

Thank you for your email of 1 February 2022 to the Ministry of Education
requesting the following information:

 

 1. goals/objectives of Ministry of Education
 2. primary stakeholders with who MOE is to serve in order of the
hierarchy - eg children etc - are they the most important or are their
other interested parties ahead of them
 3. process to implement policy eg recommendation, submissions,
consultation, feedback, costs and benefits, how the policy is to be
measured
 4. please provide how this would work when there is not a pandemic
 5. can you now please provide the process as to how the policy of masks
in schools was implemented
 6. please provide a cost/benefit analysis of masks in schools - if one
was not done then why not?
 7. please provide any and all warnings with masking children relating to
hypoxia - did the ministry of health consider this - should a student
suffer hypoxia who would be liable
 8. please provide any information considered on communication
difficulties and impact on learning due to masking - did the ministry
consider this - if not why not?
 9. please provide considerations on the impact of students suffering heat
strokes, respiratory issues due to masks - was there any consideration
of these issues
10. has MOE considered long term issues associated with masking children -
if not why not
11. the Director General of Health is on record stating they are there for
little more than show
12. ultimately I want to see normal process policy versus the rushing
through of policy likely to have short and long term impacts on the
next generation
13. please provide reporting and decision making for masks in schools
14. please provide any and all recommendations from politicians, MOH
officials or if this was a direct order from an agency or person
15. please provide how the costs or benefits of implementing this policy
are to be measured

 

Your request has been considered under the Official Information Act 1982
(the Act).

 

This is a challenging time for everyone in New Zealand as we continue to
respond to COVID-19. As you know, at the Red setting of the COVID-19
Protection Framework, it is mandatory for masks to be worn in a number of
places including on public transport, inside public venues and inside
retail businesses. Everyone is encouraged to wear a mask whenever they
leave the house.

 

Masks are a key health measure to protect ourselves and others from
COVID-19 and are an important layer of protection in schools. The rules
and guidance for schools and kura also focus on reducing the spread. We
know that the Omicron variant is more transmissible than previous
variants, so we do need to ensure that our young people are also
protected.

The Government decision regarding the wearing of masks for students Year 4
and above was made by Cabinet, informed by advice from the Ministry of
Health about the importance of mask wearing. We will continue to follow
the advice from the Ministry of Health regarding the need for masks to be
worn in schools.

 

The requirements for face coverings in educational settings are set out in
COVID-19 Public Health Response (Protection Framework) Order 2021 (as at
23 January 2022) as a legal requirement. You can find the Health Order at
[1]COVID-19 Public Health Response (Protection Framework and Other
Matters) Amendment Order 2022 (SL 2022/6) – New Zealand Legislation.

 

As you may know, schools are self-governing through their Board. They are
ultimately responsible for ensuring that relevant legislation is
implemented in their school, including Orders issued under the COVID-19
Public Health Response Act 2020. The Ministry’s role is to support schools
and kura to implement those requirements. The Ministry’s main channel for
providing guidance to schools is via the Bulletin for School Leaders on
their website, which can be accessed at the following link:
[2]https://www.education.govt.nz/school/min....

While masks are a requirement, schools should not be restricting access to
education for those who are not able to wear a mask. It is not necessary
for students to have an official mask exemption card if they have a
disability or health condition that makes wearing a mask unsuitable, and
schools will know who has a genuine reason for this.

 

Further information about mask exemptions can be found on the Unite
Against COVID-19 website at the following link:
[3]https://covid19.govt.nz/prepare-and-stay....

 

We have advised schools that teachers and students should make appropriate
decisions about always keeping a mask on, including ensuring that teachers
and students can communicate effectively with each other. This is one of
the contributing factors as to why masks are not mandatory for staff and
children below year 4, or for children and teachers in early learning
settings.

 

The Ministry of Health provides clear advice about how to safely wear a
face mask and when this may not be appropriate, including that they should
not be worn by people that are not able to remove the mask themselves or
when they may have difficulty breathing. Advice relating to the safety and
impact of masks would have been produced by the Ministry of Health.

 

Health advice around the use of face masks can be found at the following
link:
[4]https://www.health.govt.nz/covid-19-nove....

 

The Ministry of Education is providing a one-off supply of masks to
schools and kura for learners in Years 4 and above. This one-off supply is
expected to be available in late February and allocated to every school
(excluding private schools) to use at their discretion, based on roll size
and decile. This supports schools to cover any additional needs they may
face (for example, where students cannot provide their own mask, or where
a student’s mask may get lost or damaged).

 

Your request

 

With respect to the first two parts of your request relating to Ministry
of Education goals, objectives and stakeholders, this information is
available on our website at the following links. Therefore, these parts of
your request are refused under section 18(d) of the Act, as the
information requested is publicly available.

 

o statement of intent:
[5]https://assets.education.govt.nz/public/...
o goals/objectives:
[6]https://www.education.govt.nz/our-work/o...
o stakeholders:
[7]https://www.education.govt.nz/our-work/o...

 

Regarding parts three and four of your request, The Department of the
Prime Minister and Cabinet provides information and direction about
Cabinet decision making processes in the Cabinet manual available at the
following link:
[8]https://dpmc.govt.nz/sites/default/files....
In addition, Parliament provides information as to how laws are made on
their website at the following link:
[9]https://www.parliament.nz/en/visit-and-l....

 

Therefore, parts three and four of your request have been refused under
section 18(d) of the Act, as the requested information is publicly
available.

 

In response to part five of your request, the Ministry of Health provided
advice to Cabinet to support their decision to mandate the use of masks in
schools. Schools are self-governing through their Board and are
responsible for implementing Health and Safety measures, including those
mandated by the COVID-19 Health Protection Orders.

 

In producing this advice, the Ministry of Health may have considered the
things you have raised such as hypoxia, communication difficulties, heat
strokes, respiratory issues, and long-term impacts, alongside any
cost/benefit analysis.

 

The Ministry of Education do not hold any of this information, and
therefore must refuse parts six through 12) and part 15) of your request
under section 18(g) of the Act. For information about the public health
advice that contributed to Cabinet’s decision to mandate masks in schools,
we recommend you reach out to the Ministry of Health by emailing
[10][email address].

 

Information relating to the effectiveness of masks in reducing spread is
available on the Ministry of Health website at the following link: 
[11]https://www.health.govt.nz/covid-19-nove...

 

Any assessment as to the efficacy of masks in slowing the spread of
COVID-19 would have been completed by the Ministry of Health. We recommend
that you direct any questions about the public health advice that
contributed to Cabinet’s decision to mandate masks in schools to the
Ministry of Health by emailing the address above.

 

Regarding questions 13) and 14), as mentioned above, Cabinet made the
decision to mandate masks in schools on advice from Public Health.
Therefore, these parts of your request have been refused under section
18(g) of the Act, as the information requested is not held by the
Ministry. You may wish to contact the Ministry of Health to obtain copies
of the advice provided to Cabinet by using the email address above. 

 

Please note, the Ministry now proactively publishes OIA responses on our
website. As such, we may publish this response on our website after five
working days. Your name and contact details will be removed.

 

Thank you again for your email. You have the right to ask an Ombudsman to
review this decision. You can do this by writing to
[12][email address] or Office of the Ombudsman, PO Box 10152,
Wellington 6143.

 

 

Nāku noa, nā

Enquiries National Team | Ministry of Education - TW
[13]education.govt.nz  |  [14]Follow us on Twitter: @educationgovtnz

[15]Te TD huhu o te MD tauranga

 

 

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