NSW reveals pathway back to school plan, with ideas for ECEC
Sarah Mitchell, the New South Wales Minister for Education, has revealed the plan which will support NSW children when they move back to school, and in some cases early learning, from next week.
Under the plan, rapid antigen tests (RATs) will be provided to early childhood educators, with each staff member receiving two tests a week for the next four weeks. In school settings, RATs will be given to all students and staff by their schools.
In concert with the Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) national body, ACA NSW has indicated that it “may be able to assist with the supply and delivery of RATs to early childhood education and care (ECEC) services by end January 2022,” for its members.
“While ACA NSW encourages ECEC services to direct their parents/guardians to register their expressions of interests for RATs, ACA NSW members can submit their expressions of interest of RATs for their ECEC services for the period of 31 January 2022 to 28 February 2022.”
“Once supply and delivery arrangements have been confirmed, those who have registered their interests above will be given priority access to submit and confirm their orders, payments and addresses for delivery,” information on the ACA NSW website read.
“ACA NSW anticipates the price per RAT should be about $15.00 inc GST. These RATs will be on the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s Approved List and are likely to be clinically rated as ‘High Sensitivity to ‘Very High Sensitivity’.”
Members can also refer to ACA NSW’s “Is your service COVIDready?” for all legal and regulatory obligations, references, tools and frequently asked questions and answers that are relevant to ECEC services.
While much of the information released focuses on children who are returning to school settings, there is some advice in the release which relates to ECEC settings including:
- Children and staff are encouraged to wash or sanitise their hands regularly;
- Enhanced cleaning processes should be used on high touch areas, hard surfaces, door handles, light switches, handrails, and other areas where there is high movement;
- Keeping children in “cohort” groups to minimise the potential for high transmission across the service;
- Consider staggered drop off and pick up times, and minimising shared use of outdoor spaces.
Where possible, schools were encouraged to use fresh air as a means of ventilation and to minimise transmission. If this isn’t possible, mechanical ventilation should be considered, while the use of outdoor spaces for education and learning “will continue to be encouraged.”
More details can be found here.
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