Early childhood student teachers say they are worried and anxious about their health and safety after one early childhood teacher tested positive for Covid-19 in Auckland.
Angelo Zhou, 25, an early childhood student teacher, says many are feeling their working environment was becoming even more risky than nurses because they had to do their jobs without masks or personal protective equipment.
"Nurses can wear masks during their work, but in our work we can't wear masks when we're working, even though all the children are still not vaccinated," Zhou said.
He said many were worried and concerned about how long this would go on.
There are 71 new Covid-19 cases today in the community in Auckland, which director of public health Dr Caroline McElnay said was "sobering but not unexpected".
And the number of daily cases is expected to double in the next 14 days.
An early childhood teacher has tested positive for Covid-19 in Auckland after supervising children, director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said on Wednesday.
He said the teacher, who had one dose of the vaccine, supervised children in two groups of three and had 11 close contacts.
The centre is not a location of interest as all the contacts had been contacted and is instead being treated as an exposure event.
Early childhood centres are open under alert level 3 for children whose parents need to go to work and can't look after them at home.
"Most of the children come from families of essential workers, and we are placed in situations where we face a great risk of infection," Zhou said.
Although he has still to graduate, Zhou said he has been a relief teacher for eight months, but would not want to say at which centre.
Another early childhood teacher, who did not want to be named, said she was told that she could not wear a mask while working.
"I love what I am doing, and I love the children, but I feel it is just not right to put us teachers into such a risky work environment," she said.
Both teachers belong to a WeChat group, whose members coming from different groups are fighting to be included in the Government's offer for residency.
About 165,000 migrant workers in New Zealand and their families are eligible for a one-off residence visa if they have been here for at least three years, earn more than $27 an hour and their work is on a skills shortage list.
However, those on temporary visas, such as visitors', students', working holiday and seasonal work visas, are not eligible.
Xin Sun, 28, who has been in New Zealand for eight years and currently teaching in a Kindercare centre in Christchurch, said missing out on the visa has affected her mentally.
She said early childhood teachers were risking their health to carry on working on the frontline during the pandemic, but the Government doesn't seem to care.
Immigration New Zealand said the criteria were designed to focus on people whose primary purpose for being in New Zealand was to work, reflecting migrants' critical part in New Zealand's economy.
There were no plans to broaden eligibility criteria to include students, including PhD and masters students, the agency said.