NSW Shadow Minister calls for ‘immediate and clear’ infection controls in ECEC

NSW Shadow Minister calls for ‘immediate and clear’ infection controls in ECEC

by Freya Lucas

May 01, 2020

Early learning services need immediate and clear protocols for infection controls, New South Wales Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Learning Jodie Harrison has said, in light of announcements earlier in the week that another four-year-old has contracted COVID-19, making the issue “even more critical.”


With three early learning centres in NSW now linked to the transmission of COVID-19, Ms Harrison’s calls support those of early childhood teachers and educators who have for weeks been calling on the State Government to put clear infection control protocols for early childhood learning centres across the state in place. 


Ms Harrison outlined the previous requests she had put forward on this issue to NSW Minister for Early Childhood Learning, Sarah Mitchell, seeking “additional protection measures to keep children, families and workers safe.”


While Ms Mitchell has taken some measures in response, including launching a Facebook page for the sector and a series of livestream events, Ms Harrison said more needed to be done. 


“The Early Childhood Learning sector does not need a Facebook page. What it needs is clear protocols for infection control as it continues to deliver critical support for essential workers during the pandemic” she said.


“Those working in the sector have expressed their frustration at a lack of support and guidance about how to implement social distancing and infection control measures within a preschool and long day care setting, where it is impossible to tell a toddler to stand 1.5m from others” she added. 


“We have all seen what this disease can do. We cannot afford to let one single case of COVID-19 slip through the cracks. The Government must take a precautionary approach and act now to protect the families and children who use early childhood learning services.”


Ms Harrison’s call for support was echoed by Mark Northam, NSW/ACT Branch Secretary of the Independent Education Union (IEU) of Australia, who outlined the IEU efforts in this sphere, noting that the Union “has been seeking, as a matter of urgency, clear protocols for all early learning  centres since the time of the outbreak of COVID-19.” 


The most recent infection instance at a NSW service demonstrates the need for an urgent response, he added, saying that teachers and those employed in early childhood need clear protocols for their daily work.


To read more about recommendations for safe working conditions during COVID-19, please see here.