Victorian ECEC rules clarified ahead of partial reopen day this Friday
The Victorian Government has recapped current restrictions relating to the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector, ahead of two upcoming milestones in terms of unrestricted access to children returning to ECEC.
All Victorian early childhood services (sessional kindergarten and long day care) are currently open only for children where one parent/carer is an authorised worker or to provide education and care for vulnerable children.
Services with funded kindergarten programs, including those receiving Free Kinder funding for unfunded three-year-olds, are required to remain open for on-site program delivery for eligible children. For children who do not attend on-site, teachers should be making reasonable efforts to support home learning.
ECEC services remain open to all children. Twice-weekly COVID-19 testing must be conducted for all employees crossing in-out of metro and regional areas. Fully vaccinated staff are not required to get the twice weekly testing.
Metro Melbourne and restricted areas:
ECEC is open to vulnerable children and children of single parents and authorised workers.
Only one parent or guardian (if two-parent/guardian family) is required to be on the authorised workers list, either working away from home or working at home but no alternative supervision.
Twice-weekly COVID-19 testing to be conducted for all employees crossing in-out of metro and regional areas. Fully vaccinated staff are not required to get the twice weekly testing.
ECEC staff are not required to wear face masks while educating or caring, but those who wish to do so, can. Staff must wear face masks when not educating or caring.
Visitors to ECEC services must wear face masks at all times – this includes parents and carers.
Find the latest DET information for early childhood here.
Victoria’s roadmap to reopening for ECEC
The Premier’s recent announcement brings forward some milestones from the roadmap for reopening. For ECEC, this means that the requirements for parent/guardian vaccinations will now start on Friday 22 October (including that day).
From Friday 22 October, ECEC will be open for children with fully vaccinated parents/carers, as well as to children already attending prior to this date, (i.e. vulnerable and children of single parents and authorised workers.)
From 5 November, ECEC will open to all children. Parents/carers are not required to be vaccinated. However, as part of a service’s COVID-19 Safe Plan and risk mitigation measures, a provider/service may have different requirements for parents/carers who are not vaccinated.
See here for a COVID-safe plan for cleaning in early childhood settings.
The Victorian Chief Health Officer has determined that vaccination will be mandatory for staff who work in Early Childhood Education and Care.
From 18 October 2021, in order to work at a school, childcare (including outside school hours care services) or early education service, an employee must be able to provide evidence to an 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.
While the information shared above was correct at time of press, it is important for readers to review the latest information from the Department of Education and Training, which can be found here.
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