COVID-19 update Sunday 27th June
As you would likely be aware, NSW Health has advised of additional restrictions in a new Public Health Order including lockdowns across the Greater Sydney region (this region includes Sydney, Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour local government areas) until 11:59pm on Friday 9 July.
We are aware that this is a stressful time for our educators and service, we are working hard with NSW Health to bring you regular updates and information as it becomes available to us. But it is business as usual at ERINA kindergarten as we are an essential service.
Across this update, Greater Sydney includes the central coast.
Our Educators and families are encouraged to review news and updates for venues and locations of concern and adhere to the advice provided.
• People who usually live, work and/or study in the Greater Sydney region should follow stay-at-home orders from 6:00pm Saturday 26 June until at least 11.59pm on Friday 9 July unless it is for an essential reason which includes essential work, education or care where you cannot work or study from home.
• People who have been in the Greater Sydney region (including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour) on or after June 21 should follow the stay-at-home orders for a period of 14 days after they left Greater Sydney.
• Masks are mandatory in specified indoor areas across NSW until at least 11.59pm on Friday 9 July.
• Masks are mandatory on public transport for all people in NSW – this should be adhered to when staff are travelling to and from services.
Frequently asked questions
Can education and care services located in lockdown areas remain open, including vacation care services and family day care residences/venues? Yes- education and care is considered an essential service and can continue to operate throughout NSW. Can children attend services if they live in the Greater Sydney region, including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour? Yes- education and care is considered an essential service. Children can attend education and care if required. This means parents can travel from home to drop them off and pick them up.
Can children from the Greater Sydney region attend services outside the Greater Sydney region?
Yes – education and care is considered an essential service. Families can travel to and from their education and care service if required. This means parents can pick up and drop off their children, even if they live outside the Greater Sydney region.
Can educators still work in services that are outside the Greater Sydney region if they have been in the Greater Sydney region in the last 14 days or reside in lockdown areas?
It is recommended that staff work from home wherever possible if they reside or have been in the Greater Sydney region in the last 14 days through to the end of the announced lockdown period on 9 July OR 14 days after they left the Greater Sydney region. As education and care is an essential service, our services will use our discretion to staff services appropriately according to required ratios, and staff in this category may still attend services to work, if they have no symptoms of COVID-19. Can Educators travel to an education and care service to work if they live in the Greater Sydney region? Yes – education and care is considered essential work. Services should use their discretion where staff may be able to undertake other duties or where lower levels of staffing are appropriate for anticipated child
attendance levels. Can parents come onto education and care sites if a service is located in the Greater Sydney region? Parents can attend services for the purposes of pick up and drop off in Greater Sydney, but should wear masks and follow the Public Health Order. On school sites inside the lockdown areas, families should not enter past the school gates and our service has considered procedures to support pick up and drop off from the gate to each room/area. Do parents/carers have to wear masks when they drop off or pick up their children? Parents and carers should wear masks and follow the Public Health Order when dropping off or picking up children in New South Wales when entering indoor spaces. Do Educators have to wear masks? Educators in early childhood education and care settings are exempt from the requirement to wear masks whilst they are providing education and care in a service. Educators may choose to wear masks and will not be prohibited from doing so.
Can services still go on Excursions? Services in the Greater Sydney region should not participate in excursions. Services located outside of the Greater Sydney region should not participate in excursions within the locked down regions. Services outside of the Greater Sydney region and intending to participate in excursions outside of the Greater Sydney region can proceed with appropriate caution, following their COVID-19 safety plans. Can visitors come on site to our service, including to deliver incursions, in Greater Sydney Region, including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour? At this time, non-essential visitors should not be allowed on site at education and care services in the Greater Sydney region.
Does the one person per four square metre rule apply in Education and Care settings?The one person per four square metre rule has been re-introduced for all indoor and outdoor settings. It is recommended that this be applied where possible between adults in education and care settings, particularly in areas such as staff rooms and administrative areas.
Is singing and chanting allowed in education and care services? In an early childhood education and care service, group singing or chanting is allowed.
Information from the Australian Government
At this stage, there is no further change to fee charging and absent rulings in relation to the restrictions. If Child Care Subsidy (CCS) is being claimed by services, families must pay the gap fee.
Services can waive gap fees where a health agency has advised or required the service to close as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Families can get CCS when their child is absent from a session of care they would normally attend for up to 42 days per financial year. These absences can be used for any reason.
Additional Child Care Subsidy (temporary financial hardship) is available to support families experiencing significant financial stress.
You can subscribe to receive further information from the Australian Government’s Department of Education, Skills and Employment.
• You must remain at home if you are unwell, even with the mildest of symptoms. Staff and educators in services are encouraged to seek a COVID test if unwell. They should receive a negative COVID test and be symptom free before returning to the service.
• If you have been to a venue of concern, you must comply with the self-isolation and testing requirements as directed by the relevant Health Department.
• You should follow your usual hygiene measures and consider appropriate social distancing between adults when not caring for children.
We regularly update the department’s COVID-19 Guidelines for ECEC services based on advice from NSW Health. We also encourage you to regularly check the NSW Health website regarding restrictions in NSW and that of other state departments if you have recently travelled.
If you have any questions about your service operation please contact our team at ERINA kindergarten.