One Tauranga principal has cancelled a school camp so unvaccinated students aren't excluded under the new Covid-19 traffic light system, which he says is "significantly" affecting education outside of the classroom.
And another Bay school leader believes unvaccinated students will be disadvantaged when it comes to education outside of the classroom.
Secondary school sports events are also restricted to vaccinated participants only under the framework.
In a bulletin issued to school leaders in December, the Ministry of Education said venues and facilities could choose to require vaccine passes as a condition of entry at the traffic light settings.
"This applies to all attendees at their facilities, including any school or kura groups with students who are 12 years and three months and older.
It encouraged school leaders to "consider" how they could provide "appropriate opportunities for unvaccinated students to engage in learning outside the classroom".
Ministry hautū (leader) operations and integration Sean Teddy said education outside of the classroom activities may require additional planning to ensure all students could access the opportunities it provides.
It was working with other government departments to develop "advice and guidance" to make this as "easy as possible" for schools.
It would be contacting schools once advice was finalised. Teddy expected this would happen before most schools reopen for the 2022 year.
He said all students and their parents or caregivers had the right to access education services.
Otūmoetai College principal Russell Gordon said vaccine pass requirements had already affected students "significantly".
Year 10 school camp at the end of last year was canned and staff organised on-site activities for all students to partake in instead.
"There is no way we would send a group of kids on a camp where some can partake in certain activities and others can't. The decision we made is one for all and all for one."
Gordon said staff would be "calmly and cautiously" navigating "new territory" this year and he did not want any student to feel "second class".
"We are going to have to work smarter and provide opportunities for students who have chosen not to be vaccinated for whatever reason. We need to find opportunities for them to continue in their learning outside of the classroom so they are not disadvantaged."
He said it was important all students were able to access education outside of the classroom to help their learning.
"I am a sound believer that if you are experiencing it, if you do it, if you live it - that learning becomes innate in you. That is what a lot of these field trips are around, experiencing the learning."
He said the school had no control over the vaccine pass requirement for sporting venues, but the school's sports director was creating "additional sporting opportunities for kids at school so no one will miss out".
"The thing about being a principal is I could literally sit in my office and shift paper. You forget that you have got kids here. I always come to this job as a dad - that's who I am.
"I am their dad, and whenever I make a decision I do so as a principal but also as a dad. Would I want this for my child? As a dad, would I want any of my three kids to miss out because of a decision I made for them? Or for a decision they have made when they are just not sure? Absolutely not.
"I have to make sure that none of these kids miss out for whatever their reasoning is for not being vaccinated."
A Bay of Plenty mum of four, who did not want to be named, said she had "already seen the division" caused by vaccine passes when managing high school students in indoor sports teams.
While she respected venue providers were following the rules, the woman said she was concerned unvaccinated students would miss out on learning opportunities.
She also worried about all students missing out if schools opted to be "inclusive" and adjust programmes to avoid having to exclude unvaccinated students.
"I would hate to see camps and trips cancelled if the majority of students were vaccinated. Ideally, schools would find a way to be inclusive of non-vaccinated students by offering alternative experiences for them.
"It's a sensitive issue and I also have sympathy for children who may miss out due to strong beliefs held by their parents."
John Paul College principal Patrick Walsh said unvaccinated students unable to attend sporting events, school camps, curriculum trips and cultural exchanges would face educational disadvantages.
"It is going to have an emotional and psychological impact on them."
And he said New Zealand schools were "underpinned by the fundamental principle" of equal access to education.
"We know from lived experience that barriers to the full suite of programmes and experiences lead to lost educational opportunity, disadvantage, lowered self-esteem and feelings of isolation from peers.
"Principals in Aotearoa have a well-earned reputation of working hard to prevent this from happening. It will be a significant struggle for principals in 2022 to adhere to their commitment to equity for all students as the vaccination mandate hardens."
Western Bay of Plenty Principals Association president Suzanne Billington said some parents were concerned about unvaccinated students being "treated differently" from their classmates when taking part in sports and education outside of the classroom.
This also caused "tension" for staff planning excursions outside of the classroom.
"Some students will be able to access these particular learning experiences and others will not. Educational philosophies around inclusion will be at odds with this."
Billington said all schools would continue to provide the opportunity of "rich, educational" experiences for all students while understanding that parents would make decisions for their children based on family values.
The vaccine pass also meant "huge administration" for school staff and systems would need to be put in place to ensure records were up-to-date.
A Sport Bay of Plenty spokesperson said sanctioned secondary school sports events in Term 1 would be "restricted" to fully vaccinated attendees which included participants over 12.
Communication about this was sent to schools in early December.
"We have not taken this decision lightly."
The spokesperson said that under orange traffic-light event restrictions, secondary school sports events and competitions could not viably go ahead without the use of certificates.
It would be providing member secondary schools with a resource at the start of term to support the implementation of sport on school grounds for students unable to participate in inter-school events.