VIC Dept of Education updates ECEC on ‘Roadmap to Reopening’ and more
The Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET) have released a comprehensive update for the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector that includes resources and information to support services through the upcoming transition out of lockdown as outlined in the Roadmap to Reopening released on 6 September 2020.
Details of Reopening Key Dates for ECEC
From the period 13 September 2020 to 27 September 2020 DET has confirmed that:
- ECEC services in Metro Melbourne will remain open for children of permitted workers (under the Permitted Worker Permit Scheme) and vulnerable children only.
- ECEC services in Regional and Rural Victoria with a COVIDSafe Plan will remain open for all children to attend on-site, with appropriate risk mitigation measures in place (unless instructed by DHHS to close).
With respect to ECEC services in Metropolitan Melbourne, the Worker Permit Scheme will remain in place with the following actions:
- If businesses have issued permits with future date ranges, they do not need to reissue permitted worker permits
- businesses can edit and add to the dates on the permitted worker permits they have currently issued to workers if required
- a new childcare permit does not need to be issued for permitted workers who have childcare permits.
From the period 28 September 2020 assuming Public Health Advice allows the transition to the second step of the reopening Roadmap, DET has confirmed that:
- ECEC services in Metropolitan Melbourne, (except for outside school hours care (OSHC) and vacation care), with a COVIDSafe Plan can open on-site for all children, with appropriate risk mitigation measures in place (unless instructed by DHHS to close) and Permitted Worker Permits to enable on-site attendance will no be longer required.
- ECEC services in Regional and Rural Victoria (except for outside school hours care and vacation care) a COVIDSafe Plan will continue to remain open for all children to attend on-site, with appropriate risk mitigation measures in place (unless instructed by DHHS to close).
From the period 5 October 2020 (the start of Term Four), assuming Public Health Advice allows the transition to the second step of the Reopening Roadmap, DET has confirmed that:
- Sessional kindergarten programs are to be open for all children’s attendance on-site, with appropriate risk mitigation measures in place (unless instructed by DHHS to close)
- Children will be able to continue to attend OSHC only if they are eligible to attend school. As children recommence on-site schooling in line with public health advice, they will also be eligible to attend before and after school care.
For Vacation Care during Term Three school holidays from 21 September to 2 October in both metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria services will be able to operate for students who were eligible for on-site supervision at school in Term Three.
Students are able to attend vacation care at a school site that is different to their own school if vacation care is not available at their own school.
Details of key resources provided by the Department of Education and Training
The Department has provided a range of different resources to support services through the transition periods.
- A hygiene best practice document that includes key areas of mandatory and suggested practices for ECEC services.
- A template letter for services to communicate road map changes to families. .
- A webinar with a range of information including how to support children returning to a service after a period of absence and how to help with transitioning to school and more.
- A template letter for services to share with families who are requesting their children repeat a year of kindergarten due to interruptions from COVID.
- Mental health and wellbeing resources can be found at Beyond Blue, Headspace and the Black Dog Institute website with a series of webinars on the subject from Early Childhood Australia that can be found here.