Guidance issued for Victorian ECEC services as state undergoes third lockdown
Guidance was issued yesterday for Victoria’s early childhood education and care (ECEC) services by the Department of Education as the state undergoes circuit breaker action across Victoria until 11.59pm on Wednesday 17 February to limit the spread of COVID-19.
During this time, early childhood education and care (ECEC) services, including kindergartens, are permitted to remain open for all children, allowing parents/carers to work, while ensuring continuity of education and care for young children.
Schools will close and move to remote and flexible learning during the circuit breaker action to help reduce movement in the community.
On-site supervision will be provided at schools for vulnerable children and children whose parents are considered essential workers, who cannot work from home and where no other supervision arrangements can be made.
ECEC staff are considered essential workers. They do not require a permit or documentation for their children to attend on-site at their school.
The directions for the on-site supervision of school students also apply to Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) services.
Permits are not required for staff, parents/carers and children who need to travel more than 5km to attend their ECEC service or school.
With COVIDSafe plans in place, ECEC services remain safe places for staff and children, the Department said.
“It is crucial that everyone remains vigilant. If you’re unwell, get tested immediately and stay at home until you receive a negative test result.”
Symptoms include fever, chills or sweats, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose or loss or change in sense of smell or taste.
Please continue to follow operational advice in relation to cleaning and disinfection, hand hygiene, physical distancing of 1.5 metres between adults and air ventilation.
Everyone aged 12 years and over must wear a fitted face mask indoors and outdoors, except when at their home or there is a lawful reason not to. A fitted face mask should cover the nose and mouth. ECEC staff do not need to wear a mask while educating or caring for children, but can choose to do so.
Visitors should be limited to those essential for operations. New density limits of one person per four square metres now apply.
To support contact tracing, ECEC services need to keep a record of the name, phone number, date and time of visitors who attend their service for more than 15 minutes. Electronic record keeping is strongly encouraged. The Victorian Government has developed a QR Code Service which is free to use and can assist with record keeping requirements.
ECEC employees have been encouraged by the Department to safeguard their mental health and wellbeing.
Support and resources available to support include:
- Department of Education and Training wellbeing webinars
- Mental health resources – COVID-19
- Beyond Blue
- Black Dog Institute
- COVID-19 webpages for ECEC will be updated with the latest information
- The Department of Education and Training COVID-19 helpline is available weekdays from 8:30am to 5pm on 1800 338 663. If you need an interpreter, call 131 450 first.
ECEC services are encouraged to share the information in this piece, and any relevant resources, with their staff.