Do educators in New South Wales ECEC services have to wear face masks?
The New South Wales branch of the Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA NSW) has released information, aiming to add clarity to a question from many within the NSW early childhood education and care (ECEC) community – do children over 12 years of age, and adults working in ECEC services have to wear facemasks?
This confusion, ACA NSW said, arises from:
- the Public Health Order’s Part 2, Clause 5(1)(a);
- the Public Health Order’s Part 2, Clause 5(3);
- the Public Health Order’s absence of an overt exemption for ECEC services as has been the case in other NSW Public Health Orders; and
- (anecdotal) advice from Service NSW’s COVID-19 advice line.
A statement was issued by the NSW Department of Education on 4 January 2021, clarifying that educators, staff and children over 12 years of age are NOT required to wear face masks while giving or receiving education and care.
Children under the age of 12 years are exempt from the requirement to have face masks under the Public Health Order (see Part 2, Clause 5(5)(a)).
Given the concerns about community transmission, however, services continue to have the option to consider the risk(s) and exercise their discretion on using face masks (and other measures) should that be appropriate to do so for the safety of children, staff, parents and their local communities.
Members of ACA NSW who have further questions were invited to contact the Alliance for further advice post 11 January, when the office reopens following a summer break.
For those services not in the Alliance who require further information or support, NSW Health has provided information which may be accessed here.