25th March, 2020
Dear Gumnuts and Preschool families,
With the fast-changing COVID-19 situation, we understand what challenging times these are for everyone: for you, your business and your family. As a family business ourselves, our priority is taking care of children in our care, families/carers and suppliers.
We wish to stress that although there are COVID-19 cases confirmed within the Central Coast community we have no reported cases at Erina kindergarten.
As previously we have introduced extra measures across our service to look after children in our care, our educators/staffs and all those families who still need to come to our premises in person, including delivery staff: we are promoting social distancing across our rooms; postponing any non-essential visits and events; implementing more vigorous cleaning regimes; and employing video technology to conduct meetings and online training wherever possible.
Erina kindergarten continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 (‘novel coronavirus’) situation and is taking advice from NSW Health and our childcare advisory to ensure we are responding appropriately in the best interests of our students, staff and childcare communities.
I want to reassure you that we are very much open for business as usual and will do everything we can to respond to your individual family and children needs. As the Prime Minister has mentioned, continuing essential services such as early childhood education and care (while it is safe to do so) are crucial to continuing the education of our children, and to enable parents, including health care professionals, to continue to work and support the broader community. It also reduces the reliance on alternative care arrangements such as grandparents or elderly relatives who are typically at higher risk of COVID-19.
Unfortunately, our attendances are currently down across most of our rooms and this follows advice from the Prime Minister that all childcare & schools were to remain open and then advice from the NSW Premier, which was not totally consistent with this, advising parents to keep children at home but indicating that childcare & schools would remain open in some mode of delivery other than face to face teaching & care.
This has resulted in us having to negotiate with some of our educators to take additional leave or stand down temporality until our attendances pick up across our rooms. Please be assured that we are still very much abiding by our above ratio requirements in each of the rooms however due to declining attendance we will need to merge our remaining gumnuts attendees into our preschool rooms as of Monday 30th March. This will mean that the gumnuts space will temporarily be closed until further notice & all gumnuts students will need to merge with our preschool attendees within the preschool rooms at Erina kindergarten.
This decision is based upon the National Quality Framework child-ratio requirements that state children aged 36 months up to and including preschool-age require a 1:10 ratio. This will mean that the gumnuts space will be temporarily closed until further notice & all gumnuts students will need to merge with our preschool attendees within our preschool rooms.
To help mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19 we at Erina kindergarten will continue to operate as follows;
- Regularly take temperatures of all children and staffs on admission the service
- Open up our indoor-outdoor spaces to enable greater distancing in children’s play – 10.25m per child
- Limit lengthy drop off & pick-ups by families/carers
- Isolate areas/rooms and staffs within each area at Erina kindergarten
- We can embrace flexible meal times – allowing for fewer children at a table
- Create small interest areas – limiting the number of children in each space
- Diligently implementing our already existing health and hygiene policies and procedures and going above & beyond with our infection control.
- Vulnerable children and staff should seek medical advice and if at greater risk self-isolate – this will also reduce the pressure on educators and the number of children in your environments
- Know the signs and symptoms and if unwell stay home
- If you have been in contact with anyone who has been in contact with the COVID-19 or is suspected of being in contact with COVID-19 please stay home
- Educators are highly skilled professionals and you are invaluable in supporting the health safety and wellbeing of children, families and the Central Coast community
- Progressive meal times eliminating group times and running progressive meal times are ways we can limit large numbers of children coming together in small spaces
Approved Provider, Erina kindergarten