Frequently Asked Questions Regarding COVID-19
As a parent you may have questions regarding our response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, and the health and safety of your child attending one of our childcare centres.
At all times our priority is keeping our families, our staff, and our community safe, and ensuring the health and wellbeing of those attending our centres. We are dedicated to providing a safe and happy environment, where children can continue to receive quality education and care. We have put stringent measures in place to minimise the risks around COVID-19, and we are following official government health advice at all times to ensure the safety of your child.
If any of your questions are not answered below, please do not hesitate to contact one of our centres. Click here to fill out an online contact form, and find our individual centres’ contact details.
What is COVID-19 and what are the symptoms?
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a new virus. The virus is spread from person to person through close contact, droplets from coughs or sneezes, and contact with surfaces infected by these droplets followed by touching the face or mouth. Symptoms of COVID-19 may include a cough, fever, tiredness, and difficulty breathing (in severe cases). Symptoms can develop between 1 and 14 days after infection. Approximately 80% of people will recover from the virus without the need for special treatment. Elderly people and people with underlying medical conditions are more vulnerable to serious illness.
For more information please click here.
How can I protect my family from COVID-19?
Practicing good hygiene is vital to protect your family from COVID-19. This includes regular washing of hands using correct handwashing techniques, thoroughly cleaning surfaces and touch points that may have come in contact with the virus, and coughing or sneezing into a tissue that is immediately discarded or into the crook of your elbow.
Stay at home as much as possible, and avoid unnecessarily leaving the house. Practice good social distancing by keeping 1.5 meters away from other people. Follow all Government advice and rules as these measures are in place to protect you, your family, and other members of your community.
Should you or your children develop symptoms it is important that you phone your doctor and follow any medical advice that you are given.
For more information on protecting your family, please click here.
What measures and strategies have you put in place to protect my child while they attend the centre?
It is our duty of care to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of those attending our centres. At all times our priority is keeping our families, our staff, and our community safe. We are dedicated to providing a safe and happy environment, where children can continue to receive quality education and care. We have put stringent measures in place to minimise the risks around COVID-19. We are following official government health advice at all times to ensure the safety of your child
Our Hygiene and Cleaning Processes
- We are using Zoono surface spray at our centres. (Please see below for further information about Zoono).
- Strict cleaning schedules have been put in place at our centres, and these must be completed thoroughly and daily.
- All touch points around the childcare centres are also being cleaned several times a day. These include door handles, walls, doors, trolley handles, benches etc.
- All of our Educators have completed COVID-19 infection control training.
- Our staff are handwashing as often as possible and encouraging our children to do the same.
- We have dedicated sanitiser stations set up at our centres.
- Children are no longer self-serving meals at this time. Educators are serving all meals using their blue gloves.
- We are conducting small group activities rather than large group activities, and encouraging social distancing measures.
- We carefully observe all children upon arrival to ensure they present well. Anyone presenting with cold and flu like symptoms is sent home and must have a medical clearance before returning.
Can you tell me more about Zoono?
Recent laboratory tests show that the technology used in Zoono surface spray is >99.99% effective against COVID-19 and effective against a variety of pathogens for up to 30 days on surfaces. Zoono uses no dangerous chemicals or alcohol. It is colourless, odourless, non-leaching, environmentally safe, and non-corrosive. It is completely gentle for humans and animals. Zoono permanently bonds to surfaces it is used on and sets up a Nano-molecular layer of pins. This creates a hostile barrier that physically impales and destroys germs that come in contact with the Zoono layer for up to 30 days. Because of this, there is no possibility of bacteria building up an immunity to Zoono.
To find out more about Zoono click here.
Are you taking the children on excursions?
We have ceased all excursions and incursions at this time, and suspended extracurricular activities. This decision has been made to keep your child safe and further lower risks of transmission. We are utilising our interactive whiteboard technology in combination with the excellent online and live experiences a number of organisations have made available. For example, online excursions to the zoo and aquariums.
How will my child be educated about COVID-19 while they are at the centre?
We hold our position to assist families with education around COVID-19 very seriously. As such we are placing a great emphasis on documenting and reflecting upon hygiene practices in our curriculum. This includes but is not limited to:
- The use of hand sanitiser stations and hand washing lessons, to teach children about the importance of hand washing and sanitising regularly.
- Conducting research science experiences with the children regarding germs and how we can avoid them.
- Posters throughout our classrooms and bathrooms reminding children to wash their hands, and to cough and sneeze into the crook of their elbow.
- Thorough hygiene discussions within group times.
- Thorough discussions around social distancing measures and why we are doing this.
Are you still running Vacation Care Programs?
Yes, all of our centres that run Vacation Care Programs will continue to do so. This gives parents who are essential workers a safe place to bring their child for care. Please note that at all times availability into our Vacation Care Programs will be assessed and limited to ensure there is enough space to safely operate the program at our centres. As per Government advice, children of essential workers and children who are at risk or vulnerable are to be given priority into our Vacation Care Programs.
Will my centre close?
At this stage our centres are fully open and operational. We are closely following guidance from the Government and also the Department of Health in regards to the operation of our centres. As Prime Minister Scott Morrison has made clear, childcare is an essential service needed for all parents and caregivers who are essential workers at this time. We will inform all parents and caregivers should there be any updates and changes to our services.
What happens if my child has an underlying health issue or respiratory disorder?
COVID-19 poses risks to people with underlying conditions, so we do encourage you to keep that in mind when deciding whether you are comfortable with your child attending the service. Children with a medical condition must have a Medical Management Plan, a Risk Minimisation Plan and a Communication Plan in place. They also need to have sufficient medication at the centre. If you choose to continue to send your child to our centre, we do ask that you engage with our Educators to communicate any specific needs your child requires.
The Government announced free childcare from 6th April 2020. How do I access this, and how long can I access it for?
Currently, Australian parents are able to access childcare and early education services for free through the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package. It is important to note that childcare and early education services will cease being free from the 13th July 2020, and gap fees will be charged from that date.
What does this mean for families?
At present, you can send your child to childcare free of charge. You must continue to sign into our Kiosk as normal so we can keep a record of your session times. There will be no out of pocket gap fee charged to any family up until the 12th July 2020. Gap fees will be charged from the 13th July 2020.
If you choose to keep your child at home due to COVID-19 concerns, we will continue to hold your child’s position and mark their attendances as an Absentee. This will allow your Child Care Subsidy to recommence immediately once you return and the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package ceases. Please be advised absences under the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package commencing Monday 6thApril 2020, do not count against your allowable absent days for the 2019/2020 financial year.
Families who were previously receiving Additional Childcare Subsidy (ACCS) Child Wellbeing or Financial Hardship, will move across to the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package. For families receiving ACCS child wellbeing, if between the 6thApril 2020 and 26thJune 2020 your ACCS is due to expire, a new application must be submitted. You must provide your Centre Director with supporting documentation by Friday 19thJune 2020 at the very latest.
You must keep your child’s immunisations up to date during this time.
What does this mean for families wanting to return to care?
Over the last few months many families decided to keep their children at home due to COVID-19 concerns. During this time, staff levels have significantly reduced due to the operational needs of our centre.
The Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package requires services to prioritise care to essential workers, vulnerable and disadvantaged children, and previously enrolled children. If you are looking at returning to the centre, please contact your Centre Director to express an interest with a projected return date. It’s important that we assess each child as they return based on prioritisation criteria and staffing arrangements.
What does this mean for Parent Payments?
If you have paid your account up to the current billing cycle, no further payments will be debited. Credits will be held on to your account to secure your position at the centre to cover your recommencement of care under the Child Care Subsidy System. If you have an outstanding account, please speak with your Centre Director to arrange payment as soon as possible.
Does this include Vacation Care?
Vacation Care will also be included in the new arrangement.
What policies and procedures that have been put in place regarding COVID-19 and attending your centres?
To ensure the health and wellbeing of our families and staff at our centres, we are strictly following and adhering to Government and health advice and rules around COVID-19 and attending childcare. These measures are extended to all of our staff, the children attending our centres, parents, and any essential visitors attending our centres (eg. maintenance workers performing essential maintenance work).
These measures include:
- Any person who has COVID-19, may not attend the centre until they have been cleared as medically fit and are displaying no symptoms.
- Any person who has returned from overseas or been in contact with somebody from overseas, cannot enter the centre until they have completed their isolation period of 14 days and have been declared medically fit and are displaying no symptoms.
- Any person who has been in contact with somebody who is displaying the symptoms of COVID-19 may not enter the centre until their 14-day self-isolation period is over and they have been declared medically fit and are displaying no symptoms.
- If a public health authority has informed you that your child has been in contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19, they cannot attend childcare until the authority tells you it is safe for them to do so.
I have been in close contact with someone who is now showing symptoms of COVID-19. Can I still bring my child to childcare?
No. To ensure the health and wellbeing of all the children and staff at our centre we advise you to keep your children at home. Follow recommendations from the Department of Health, monitor any symptoms and practise self-isolation for a minimum of 14 days. Please contact your Centre Director and your local doctor to advise them of the situation.
What happens if my child is showing symptoms of COVID-19 at the childcare centre or at home?
We carefully observe all children upon arrival to ensure they present well. Anyone presenting with cold and flu like symptoms will be separated from the other children and sent home. You must bring in a medical clearance before returning. If your child is showing COVID-19 symptoms at home, we do ask that you keep them at home and seek medical attention. Contact your Centre Director to advise of the absentee and update us on the Doctor’s recommendations and medical clearance to return.
What happens if an Educator is showing symptoms of COVID-19 at the childcare centre or at home?
Any Educator or staff member who is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 must not attend the centre until they have received medical clearance. Should a staff member begin to display signs of COVID-19 whilst at the centre, they must immediately go home and cannot return until they have received medical clearance.
Will I be told if somebody at the centre has tested positive to COVID-19?
Yes. We will follow all official Government and Health Department advice in regards to procedures following a positive testing at a childcare centre.
How can I stay up to date with information about COVID-19 and the measures that are being put in place at the centres at this time?
We are regularly keeping families updated using email, Facebook and online programs. All communications about COVID-19 will be emailed to families on a regular basis. If you are currently enrolled at one of our centres, whether you are attending the service or not, please make sure your Centre Director has your most recent email address.
Where can I find more help?
For the latest Government and health advice around COVID-19 click here
Some great resources about COVID-19 for parents include:
Some great resources for children about COVID-19 include:
We’ve put together a page for parents with resources and worksheets to assist with the education of young children who are not able to attend our centre. You can find that here.