COVID-19 and Your Family

The health, safety, and wellbeing of your family and our Teams is our top priority. Here’s what we’re doing to manage COVID-19 in our Centres.

We’re open and here to support you

Our Centres are set up to provide a safe, nurturing, and consistent environment for your children, which has never been more important. We thank you for your efforts in supporting us through this challenging period as we all do our part to keep our communities safe and well.

Update for all families – 6 July 2022 

States and Territories have changed their COVID-safe advice and requirements, including the settings for the early childhood and education sector. You will see changes in our COVID-safe practices in Centres. Any changes are in-line with public health advice and aimed at supporting the health and wellbeing of children, families, and our teams 

Recent changes in our Centres 

Recently the state governments have relaxed policies meaning that it’s no longer a requirement for Educators to be vaccinated for COVID-19. We know that this has been raising some questions for our families, so we wanted to provide you with some information on this. 

The safety and wellbeing of our children, families and Teams is our highest priority. Therefore, we continue to require all our team members to have had a minimum of two COVID-19 vaccinations. This will provide protection to the children in our care and help stop the spread of this virus.

To ensure we can keep our Centres as safe as possible, the following measures remain in place throughout all Guardian Centres. 

  • Wellness checks for everyone entering the building to ensure they are symptom free. 
  • Spending as much time as we can outdoors. When indoors we are increasing ventilation by having the windows and some doors open, using fans and air conditioners to help circulate the air. 
  • Our air handling units use 100% outdoor air to increase air exchange. 
  • Minimising interactions children and educators have across different learning areas wherever possible. 
  • Requiring anyone experiencing covid, cold or flu symptoms to not attend and remain at home until symptoms have resolved.
  • Cleaning high-touch points frequently during the day. 
  • Daily clean of the Centre each evening by external cleaners. 
  • Implementing the infection control and cleaning guidelines provided in Staying Healthy, produced by the National Health and Medical Research Council. 
  • Handwashing for team members and children, hand sanitising stations and antiseptic wipes throughout the Centre. 
  • Teams and families are not required to wear masks, unless physical distancing cannot be maintained indoors, they are a household contact, or they choose to wear a mask. 
  • Families are welcome back to learning spaces inside the Centre. Each Centre will consider local circumstances and family preferences to decide if masks should be worn in the learning space.
  • Household contacts need to notify your Centre that you are a household contact.
  • Household contacts who test positive must follow the advice provided by your State or Territory health department. 

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your Centre Manager or contact our team on 1300 001 119.

For further information on COVID-19

Visit the Federal Government Department of Health, or call or visit your relevant state-based health authority:

COVID-19 FAQs

Fees & Absences

My child is isolating due to a case at the centre. Will I have to pay a gap fee?

If the centre is unfortunately impacted by a covid case and you have been directed to isolate, quarantine, undertake a PCR test and wait for the result, or if there has been a partial/full centre closure, The Government and the Department of Education Skills and Employment (DESE) have advised that gap fees for both CCS and Non-CCS families will be waived.

My child has had a PCR test and is waiting for the results after a case at the centre. Will have I have to pay a gap fee?

If the centre is unfortunately impacted by a covid case and you have been directed to isolate, quarantine, undertake a PCR test and wait for the result, or if there has been a partial/full centre closure, The Government and the Department of Education Skills and Employment (DESE) have advised that gap fees for both CCS and Non-CCS families will be waived.

My Centre is closed due to a public health notice, will I be charged fees?

If the centre is unfortunately impacted by a covid case and there has been a partial/full centre closure, The Government and the Department of Education Skills and Employment (DESE) have advised that gap fees for both CCS and Non-CCS families will be waived.

Our centre had to close due to the impact of covid on staffing. Will my gap fees be waived?

We will not be charging any gap fees for this time for CCS and Non CCS families and we apologise the inconvenience the closure of the centre may have caused.

If I decide to remove my child from care as a precautionary measure will I be charged a gap fee?

We have implemented comprehensive Covid safe measures to minimise the risk of a Covid case in our centre and continue to follow all current health advice. If you decide as a precautionary measure not to bring your child into care you will be able to use your allowable absences for this. This financial year we have increased the number of allowable absences by ten days to allow for these situations and to give further peace of mind. Your normal gap fee will still be charged for these days. We are legally bound by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment regulations related to gap fees and must follow their guidelines. Rest assured that we are taking all of the proper measures and precautions to ensure the safety of children, families and staff at this time. We look forward to welcoming you and your child back to the centre when you are ready and we can continue to support you with their care and education.

How will waiving of my gap fees impact my future bills?

The waived gap fees will appear as a discount on your next statement.

My statement doesn’t reflect my billing credits due to covid.

Please speak to your Centre Manager regarding your statement. They will be able to investigate this for you.

I need help understanding my billing statement.

Here is some useful information on how to understand your statement [https://qikkids.com.au/my-family-lounge-home-blocks/understanding-childcare-statements] and your Childcare Subsidy [https://www.guardian.edu.au/families/child-care-subsidy-ccs/].

If you need any more help with this, please speak to your Centre Manager and they can help to answer your questions.

My Centre is open, but my child will be absent for COVID-19 related reasons, who do I need to tell?

Will Covid-19 related absences count towards my annual balance?

Am I eligible for additional Allowable Absences?

Families can access additional Allowable Absences during stay-at-home orders extending for more than 7 days. This means any Absent days taken during these stay-at home orders will not impact your overall 52 Allowable Absence Days, and you will continue to be subsidised. Additional allowable absences will be available until the end of hotspot declarations for states. 

Am I eligible for Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS)?   

ACCS (temporary financial hardship) is available to families who are:  

  • eligible for Child Care Subsidy (CCS) (they can apply for both at the same time), and  
  • are experiencing temporary financial hardship due to an event in the last six months, and  
  • have a substantially reduced ability to pay childcare fees.  

For more information on this and how-to instructions on how to apply for it, please click here.  

Health & Safety In Our Centres

Will I be notified if there are diagnosed cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) at my Cetnre?

As soon as practicable we will notify you about the case by email. A text message will be sent to you advising you to check your inbox if we require you to take any immediate actions such as collecting your child from the Centre, undertake testing or to enter quarantine.

We will provide you with the following information:

The date(s) the positive case attended the centre during their infectious period.
What times they attended the centre.
What room(s) they attended.
Any testing steps you should take if needed for your child.

Will all Guardian teachers & educators be fully vaccinated?

Under the direction and recommendations of the health department in each state Guardian has ensured that its teams are vaccinated for COVID-19.

ACT – All team members had their second vaccination dose by the 29th November 2021 

NSW – All team members had their second vaccination dose by the 8th November 2021 

QLD – All team members had their first vaccination by the 17th December 2021 and their second dose by the 23rd January 2022 

SA – All team members had their first dose by the 10th December and have booked an appointment to receive their second dose within the interval after the first dose as recommended by the Australia Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI)  

VIC – All team members have had their second vaccination does by the 29th November 2021

Are you taking each child's temperature on arrival at the Centre?  

As of 17/11/20, temperature checks are no longer mandatory. However, your childs temperature may be checked if educators are concerned that they are unwell. You will be contacted if your childs temperature is elevated or if they are displaying other symptoms of being unwell and will be required to collect them from the service. 

What changes have Guardian made to its ventilation procedures in its centres?

We have made changes to our programming so that teams spend as much time outside in well ventilated spaces as possible. Inside we have increased ventilation by having windows and doors open and we use fans and air conditioners to help circulate the air. In addition to this our air handling units use 100% outdoor air to increase the dispersal of air particles.

How are your Centres managing the risk of infection as more children and families return to care?

To ensure we can keep our Centres as safe as possible, the following measures remain in place throughout all Guardian Centres.

Wellness checks for everyone entering the building to ensure they are symptom free.
Spending as much time as we can outdoors. When indoors we are increasing ventilation by having the windows and some doors open, using fans and air conditioners to help circulate the air.
Our air handling units use 100% outdoor air to increase air exchange.
Minimising interactions children and educators have across different learning areas wherever possible.
Cleaning high touch points frequently during the day.
Daily clean of the Centre each evening by external cleaners.
Implementing the infection control and cleaning guidelines provided in Staying Healthy, produced by the National Health and Medical Research Council.
Handwashing for team members and children, hand sanitising stations and antiseptic wipes throughout the Centre.

What strategies are Guardian currently putting in place to manage Coronavirus in Centres?

Our approach is to manage the situation in a balanced, calm and measured way, and when required act swiftly and communicate clearly.

Our Coronavirus Task Group is actively communicating with a wide range of government authorities in order to ensure we are adopting the constantly evolving advice they are providing, to guarantee the safety and wellbeing of all our people, little and big.

We also continue to emphasise to our centre teams the importance of continuing to implement practices that support the highest standard of hygiene in our centres. We are supporting Centres by providing ongoing updates, new tools and modified policies and procedures. This information is being communicated frequently to all team members via our internal communication channels.

Additionally, we encourage our families to view the Federal Government Department of Health or your relevant state-based Department of Health website to keep informed of the latest advice.

What are the mask wearing requirements for educators in the Centre?

Teams members are not required to wear masks, unless physical distancing cannot be maintained indoors, they are a household contact, or they choose to wear a mask. We fully support our Team Members who choose to continue to wear masks to protect their health and wellbeing. Families are not required to wear masks inside the main areas of our Centres unless you are a household contact, or you choose to wear a mask. Families are welcome back to the learning spaces inside the Centre. Each Centre will consider local circumstances and family preferences to decide if masks should be worn in the learning space.

Can my child attend the Centre if they have a runny nose or other mild symptoms?

For the safety and wellbeing of all children and team members in our Centres, if a child is displaying any COVID-19 symptoms at all they cannot attend the Centre and will ask parents to collect any child starting to show symptoms. 

The symptoms to watch out for are: 

  • Fever 
  • Chills or sweats 
  • Cough 
  • Sore throat 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Runny nose 
  • Loss of sense of smell 
  • In certain circumstances headache, muscle soreness, stuffy nose, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea may also be considered. 

There has been an example of a child who had these systems and a negative COVID-19 test. They then tested positive a couple of days later. For examples like this, it is in the safety of all parties that we will not accept a child with symptoms, regardless of a negative COVID-19 test. We appreciate your understanding.  

What happens when a Centre is informed of a case of COVID-19?

As soon as practicable we will notify you about the case by email. A text message will be sent to you advising you to check your inbox if we require you to take any immediate actions such as collecting your child from the Centre, undertake testing or to enter quarantine.

We will provide you with the following information:

The date(s) the positive case attended the centre during their infectious period.
What times they attended the centre.
What room(s) they attended.
Any testing steps you should take if needed for your child.

My child has been tested for COVID-19 but does not have any symptoms. Can they attend? 

if you child does have symptoms and has returned a negative test result, they still need to be well to return to the centre in accordance with the unwell child requirements. If you wish to return before symptoms have resolved, you will need to have one of the following:

a documented medical management plan where the current symptoms are described as part of the medical condition; OR

a medical certificate stating that the child is able to attend childcare and the following symptoms (list them) which are caused by (name the condition) and that the child is not infectious.

Note: The above does not apply if your child has tested positive for covid-19 in the last 12 weeks.

What should I do if I am living with a close contact or a positive case?

Requirements for household close contacts vary for each State or Territory. Please check online for these requirements.

Can my child's sibling still attend the centre if only 1 child is a close contact?

Requirements for household close contacts vary for each State or Territory. Please check online for these requirements.

What happens if an educator displays symptoms of Covid whilst at the centre?

If an educator displays symptoms consistent with Covid-19 it is important to remember that it could be this virus or several other illnesses. However any educator who exhibits these symptoms whilst at the centre are sent home and is required to seek medical attention and testing.

What about visitors to the centre? What is being done to manage unnecessary exposure to COVID?

Visitors are required to declare whether they are feeling unwell or are awaiting Covid test results. If any visitors declare any of the above, they will be excluded until well or have a negative Covid test as appropriate. 

Enrolments

I am due to start care soon and have my stay and play / orientations to organise. Are these still going ahead?

Yes, these are still taking place. There is no better way to get to know your family and for you to discover what awaits your child at our Centre than by visiting in person. We have implemented several COVID-safe practices to allow Orientations to go ahead. These include: Before attending, please ensure that: • A limit of one family member will attend with the enrolled child • The attending family member is fully vaccinated and must wear a mask at all times On arrival: • Scan in using the QR code and enter your details into the visitor register • A friendly Team Member will ask you a few questions about your family’s recent health During your visit: • Access to learning spaces is limited to two hours (or less) in any 48-hour period for any one person • Room orientation will be conducted one child at a time • Some orientation activities will be conducted outdoors Following your visit: • Orientation spaces will be thoroughly cleaned between visits • Visiting families will be asked about any symptoms at the end of their visit Our experience throughout the pandemic has shown that these measures are effective in reducing the risk and transmission of the virus, keeping all of us safe and healthy.

Vaccination & Government Guidelines

As a parent, do I need to be vaccinated to visit the centre?

There are currently no legislative guidelines requiring parents to be COVID-19 vaccinated in order to access childcare. We do ask however that parents do follow the COVID safety protocols that have been put in place by the centre, including wearing a mask, following the pick up/drop off zones and checking in/out when visiting to ensure the safety of all out team members, children and other family members.

My child attends a Guardian Centre in VIC. Do I need a permit for them to attend?

Following the advice of the Victorian Government all families no longer need a permit to access care. 

I live in Victoria, how will my child be signed in to care?

Following government advice, we have implemented a contactless sign-in for all children on arrival. This is be done via parents/carers signing in child via a phone/app or a staff member undertaking sign-in on their behalf.  We also require children to be signed in via our visitor log. 

Should I enter a Centre, do I have to sign in with a QR code?

If you are required to enter a Centre, you will need to sign in via a QR code as part of the Department of Health & Safety regulations advised for that state. 

General Advice

What happens if I have visited an exposure site?

If you, your child, or a member of your household develops symptoms of a fever, chills or sweats, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, loss of smell or taste, you should get tested and stay home until you receive a negative result. 

If you receive a positive result please contact your Centre Manager immediately and follow the directions from your health state department. 

We ask that you or your child do not come to the centre whilst they have symptoms as per our illness policy. 

What is the risk of parents or educators contracting the virus while in the Centre?

Because of the extensive health, safety, hygiene and infection control measures we have put in place in our centres, we have been able to lower the risk of infection as much as possible. However, we need to continue to take the appropriate measures and precautions to ensure this remains the case.  In some cases, this may mean closing centres in line with the relevant state government recommendations, to ensure the safety of children, families and staff members.

People need to be considered a close contact of an infected person to be considered at risk. A close contact is a household contact, or a household-like contact, of a confirmed case and only applies if you have spent more than four hours with someone who has Covid-19 inside a house or similar setting like a child care centre 

My child has been out of childcare for a period of time. Is there a return to care procedure I have to follow?

All educators, families and visitors entering our centres must complete a Personal Declaration Form upon their return to the centre. Your Centre Manager will provide you with this. This form is designed to capture key information about any COVID-related risk factors, such as recent illnesses, travel or exposure to anyone who has displayed symptoms. We are committed to preventing the spread of COVID-19 and any other illnesses through this measure. 

We cannot eliminate all risk and will rely on expert advice. In the absence of a full scale lock-down by the government, it is important that we do not panic – people still need to go about their business, albeit applying the evidence-informed advice from experts that is being provided. 

Should I keep my child in care during covid?

COVID-19 continues to cause major disruption to families across the country. We understand this because all of us here are facing the same challenges too.
While we know that you’re doing your best to protect the health and wellbeing of your family, maintain employment, and manage daily life as best you can; you might also be wondering if at this time, should you keep your children in care?

Care Supports a Child’s Social and Emotional Development

Routine, familiarity, and consistency, these are all the foundations of the care environment that support young children to feel safe and secure. When children feel safe and secure, they will build relationships and form valuable friendships; engage in new activities, and learn and practice the social and emotional skills that build resilience!

Disruption has the opposite effect; and if the weeks and months of COVID-19 restrictions felt like a lifetime for us as adults, imagine what it was like for children. A short time away from that environment can seem like an eternity.

Care is the Foundation For Success In School & Life

Throughout the early years of a child’s life, social and emotional development go hand-in-hand with the development of a child’s problem-solving ability, literacy, and numeracy skills. Put together, these core skills are the foundation for a successful transition to school and developing a life-long love of learning. An environment that nurtures and supports those skills from a young age lays the foundation for a child’s future health and happiness and to reach their full potential – and there’s no better place to support this development but in a care environment where children are interacting with each other and engaging in learning activities that spark their curiosity.

While these are challenging circumstances for all of us, Guardian is committed to providing a safe, secure, and positive environment where children and grow and thrive.

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Communication With Families

I have further questions, where can I go for answers?

If you have any additional questions please contact your Centre Manager who can support you.

You should also regularly refer to the Federal Government Department of Health Website at www.health.gov.au or your relevant state government health department website.