Clarity for Vic ECEC services on compulsory vax measures ahead of 18 Oct deadline
The Victorian Chief Health Officer (CHO) has determined that COVID-19 vaccination will be required for staff who work in early childhood education and care (ECEC) services, including outside school hours care services (OSHC) as part of the State’s roadmap to COVID-19 recovery.
By 18 October all ECEC employees must provide evidence of vaccination, or a valid medical exemption, with the Department of Education and Training (DET) recently issuing advice on COVID-19 vaccination requirements, as well as information on Term 4 cleaning and hygiene grants.
COVID-19 vaccination requirements
The vaccination requirements cover all onsite ECEC services provided under the:
- Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010 and the Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011 including long day care, kindergarten and/or preschool, family day care
- Children’s Services Act 1996 including limited hours services, budget-based funded services, occasional care services, early childhood intervention services, mobile services and (if applicable) school holiday care programs.
ECEC workers included in the vaccination requirements
The Victorian CHO has issued directions for required vaccinations for education workers. In an ECEC context, an education worker encompasses the following:
- ECEC-employed staff (e.g. teachers, educators, ancillary support staff including reception)
- Contractors working in close proximity to children or staff, whether or not engaged by the ECEC (e.g. trades and maintenance persons, cleaners but excluding delivery drivers)
- Staff of the Department of Education and Training (e.g. Authorised Officers, Early Childhood Improvement Branch staff)
- Staff of any other entity (e.g. allied health, NDIS providers, school readiness funding providers, Kindergarten Inclusion Support, Preschool Field Officer etc)
- Volunteers working in close proximity to children or staff (e.g. parent helpers, Committee of Management members)
- students on placements.
Please note: The examples provided in the brackets above are for explanatory purposes and do not represent an exhaustive list.
18 October deadline
From 18 October 2021, in order to work in Victoria’s ECEC services (including OSHC), employees must provide evidence to their employer that they:
- are fully vaccinated with two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine; or
- have received a first dose and have a booking to receive a second dose by 29 November 2021; or
- haven’t received any doses but have a booking to receive a first dose by 25 October 2021; or
- have a medical exemption evidenced by an authorised medical practitioner.
For information on how to show evidence of a vaccination to an employer, please visit Information for workers required to be vaccinated.
A person may be exempt from the requirement to be vaccinated to be onsite at an ECEC service from 18 October 2021 only where they have a medical contraindication to all of the COVID-19 vaccines available for use in Australia. An authorised medical practitioner must provide a certificate. For more information, please visit Information for workers required to be vaccinated.
Family day care (FDC)
At this point in time, the requirement to be vaccinated applies to the FDC educator and any educator assistants in the residence. FDC co-coordinators will also be required to be vaccinated.
Responsibilities of ECEC providers with workers onsite at an ECEC service
An ECEC provider with the above in-scope workers onsite at an ECEC service, must collect, record and hold the following vaccination information of a worker scheduled to be onsite at an ECEC service on or after 18 October:
- for the fully vaccinated, evidence of receiving two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine;
- for the partially vaccinated, evidence of first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and subsequent booking to become fully vaccinated by 29 November;
- for the unvaccinated, evidence of a booking to receive the first dose by 25 October; or
- evidence of a medical exemption from an authorised medical practitioner.
If a worker does not meet the COVID-19 vaccination one-dose requirement or is unable to produce evidence of booking to receive one dose of a vaccination by 25 October and does not have an approved medical exemption, the worker cannot be onsite at an ECEC service on or after 18 October.
Evidence of COVID-19 vaccination
Evidence of vaccination can be an Immunisation History Statement, or digital certificate, or a letter from a GP. ECEC workers can access their Immunisation History Statement online or call the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) to have an Immunisation History Statement sent in the post.
In the period before an immunisation history is updated, evidence of vaccination can include a recent booking confirmation email, or the card received at the time of vaccination.
For more information, please visit Information for workers required to be vaccinated.
Staff who travel in/out of restricted areas (including metropolitan Melbourne)
Staff who are fully vaccinated no longer need to get tested twice a week. Staff who are not yet fully vaccinated still need to get tested twice a week.
How to book an appointment
To book a vaccine appointment at a convenient pharmacy, GP or community health service, use the Vaccine Clinic Finder.
Term 4 cleaning and hygiene grants
Additional COVID-19 cleaning and hygiene grants will be paid to all funded kindergarten service providers for Term 4 in the coming weeks.
In line with previous COVID-19 cleaning and hygiene grants:
- service providers have flexibility on how to use this funding, so long as it is spent on meeting additional COVID-19-related cleaning and hygiene requirements during Term 4
- service providers with fewer than 50 enrolments will receive $900 while those with 50 or more enrolments will receive $1,500.
Additional funding will be available for services across Victoria that are required to close and undertake an infectious clean as a result of a confirmed case of COVID-19. For each room where kindergarten programs are delivered, $1,500 will be provided towards the cost of an infectious clean. This is on top of the cleaning and hygiene grants that will be provided to all funded kindergarten services.
- Current COVIDSafe Settings in early childhood education and care services
- Operating guidelines for early childhood education and care services
- Health advice for early childhood education and care services
- Learning from home – information and resources for early childhood education.