NSW and VIC state governments release updated COVID-19 guidance for ECEC providers

by Jason Roberts

March 17, 2020

In the wake of new COVID-19 containment measures endorsed by the National Cabinet and communicated by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the New South Wales and Victorian State Departments of Education have updated their advice for early childhood education and care (ECEC) providers. 

 

While much of the advice is consistent, key variances include NSW saying all excursions should cease and Victoria saying bush kinder excursions are cleared to go ahead. The Victorian advice also makes clear the process should a service be advised to close. 

 

The key messages in the NSW update are as follows:

 

  • International travel – Staff, children, parents, carers and any other relatives that are returning from overseas will be required to self isolate for 14 days. 

 

  • China, Korea, Italy, Iran travellers – Anybody returning from these countries within the last 14 days must self isolate and be excluded from education and care services for 14 days. 

 

  • Confirmed COVID-19 cases – If a COVID-19 case is confirmed the individual will be excluded until they are medically cleared to return. 

 

  • Close contacts of a confirmed COVID-19 case – Anyone coming in contact with a  confirmed case of COVID-19 will be excluded for 14 days from last contact with the case.  

 

  • No symptoms post quarantine – Staff and children who show no symptoms post their 14 day quarantine can return to services or work.

 

  • Visits to aged care facilities – All visits to aged care facilities should be halted until further notice.

 

  • Practicing good hygiene – Good hygiene practices should be encouraged with ample supplies of soap made available throughout the service. 

 

Any outbreaks detected in centres must be reported to the local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055 and the NSW Regulatory Authority with details here and or by phone on 1800 619 113.The NSW Government Coronavirus advice home page can be found here

  

The key messages in the VIC update are as follows:

 

  • Excursions to public venues – All excursions to public venues outside the ECEC service that were scheduled to occur from and including 17 March should be postponed or rescheduled. If they cannot be rescheduled they should be cancelled.

 

  • Visits to aged care facilities – All visits to aged care facilities should be halted until further notice.

 

  • Bush kindergarten – Bush kindergarten excursions are not included in the excursion guidance at this stage. 

 

  • International arrivals – Staff, children, parents, carers and any other relatives that are returning from overseas will be required to self isolate for 14 days. 

 

  • Travel to New Zealand – Staff and children can now no longer travel to New Zealand due to their travel bans. 

 

  • Closures – A centre will be contacted directly by the Department of Health and Human Services if there is any prospect that the centre or service should close with detailed advice and communication resources being provided to add support through the process.

 

  • Stagger morning tea and lunch breaks – Social distancing measures should be applied where possible with one possible avenue the staggering of morning tea and lunch breaks for team members.

 

  • Community events or gatherings – Large gatherings should be postponed or reduced in size.

 

  • Hygiene – Good hygiene practices should be encouraged with ample supplies of soap made available throughout the service. 

 

A reduce your risk poster has also been made available for display. It can be found here and the VIC Government Coronavirus advice home page can be found here

 

In a separate initiative, Child Australia, Telethon Kids and the Australian Childcare Alliance are hosting a COVID-19 free webinar on Thursday 19th March called “Be Prepared. Be proactive” which will provide comprehensive information on all aspects of the impact of the virus from an ECEC perspective. 

 

To remain up to date with changes in the ECEC space across all states and territories, please check in with The Sector COVID 19 resource list, designed to support and guide services as changes come to hand.

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