Last Updated 18th May 2020, 12pm
Novel Coronavirus FAQ’s
As restrictions begin to be lifted how do I arrange return to care for my child? expand_more
If you are looking to resume care, to take extra days or change your days please speak to your Centre Manager. If you are looking to return to care you don’t need to start straight away, but it would be helpful to let your Centre Manager know your plans so that they can plan accordingly. You will still be required to provide at least 5 days’ notice so that we can ensure we have the required educators available.
Can I tour a centre during this time? expand_more
We will be offering tours to prospective new families from the 18th of May for starting dates after July 1. Please be assured that we will maintain our focus on health and hygiene which may require you to complete a health declaration prior to entering the service, have your temperature taken as well as limiting the length of tours. Access to a place prior to July 1 will be limited. Wherever possible the Centre Manager will work with prospective families if care is required prior to this date.
Will your centres still maintain the social distancing requirements, with increased attendances? expand_more
As we come into winter, what should I do if my child develops a runny nose or other flu like symptoms? expand_more
Obviously, if your child has any early or developing flu-like symptoms, for the wellbeing and safety of other children and our teams they will be required to stay at home until recovered.
Is childcare free for everyone? expand_more
Yes. The scheme is for all families who use early learning childcare centres – no matter what your profession is or your current employment status. The funding will apply from April 6 and the payments will be paid in lieu of the Child Care (CCS) and Additional Child Care Subsidy payments.
That said, priority of access will be given to children of essential workers (emergency workers / health services) vulnerable and disadvantaged children and children with pre-existing enrolments.
Enrolments in the centres will be reduced to ensure the centre complies with social distancing rules, WH&S act and limiting numbers of children and educators within a 4sqm area as per Government requirements.
What does the Government Announcement made on the 2 April 2020 mean? expand_more
We are aware of the government’s announcement of April 2 and are working to understand specifically what it means and how it will work.
What we know it means – all families enrolled or re-enrol or newly enrol will not be charged a gap fee – whether your child attends the centre or not – from April 6.
What we also know is that this should not be a signal to families to send their children back to our centres. We are still in the midst of a serious pandemic and health emergency, so I urge families to consider this before sending their children back to care. The intent behind this package is to ensure that centres can remain open for those families who need to place their children in care so they can continue working. I will cap attendances if I believe the health and safety standards we have in place will be compromised by a large number of children and their families returning to a centre.
Will you be introducing monitoring of temperatures? expand_more
Centre’s will be monitoring children’s temperature as part of the arrival process each day. Centre’s will document the reading on a daily basis as part of information collection and handover process.
Where a child presents with a temperature of 37.5 and over, they will be excluded from care until they are well and free of symptoms. This temperature reading is in line with Government Health Department recommendations.
What strategies are Guardian currently putting in place in relation to Coronavirus? expand_more
How concerned should we be? expand_more
Somebody once said, “we should be alert but not alarmed.” The outcomes of the virus have been worst amongst elderly people with underlying health complications, not children. Most people who have contracted the virus have experienced cold or flu-like symptoms, without more serious complications, and have recovered fully. The virus is not airborne.
We encourage families to avoid a sense of panic in relation to this situation. We have developed robust responses to a range of scenarios, and we are increasing efforts to build on the already high hygiene standards within our centres.
Should I talk to my child about Coronavirus? expand_more
What can we do to protect children and ourselves? expand_more
The advice from federal and state health authorities is that it’s most important to maintain good hygiene. We continue to reinforce this message to our teams. We ask that all members of the Guardian community wash their hands frequently, avoid touching faces, and to cough into their elbows or into a tissue (before disposing of it). Shaking hands, hugging and other physical contact is discouraged. Obviously, if your child shows any cold or flu symptoms (e.g. headache, fever, dry cough, sore throat, runny nose), please keep him/her at home and contact your GP.
Please continue to reference updated COVID-19 information on the Australian Government website. This site is being progressively updated and it is important to continue to stay in touch with the latest information.
Will I be notified if there are diagnosed cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) at my centre? expand_more
If my child has a respiratory condition what is required? expand_more
Our protections extend beyond the COVID -19 virus. Because the virus can have more significant impacts on people with underlying conditions we would encourage you to consider the safety of your child and make whatever decision you are comfortable with about their attending a service. It should be noted that any child with a medical condition is required to 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. In order to protect your and other children, families of those with a diagnosed respiratory illness, who choose to continue to attend the service, are required to engage with educators to identify any specific care needs and procedures that may be required.
What is the risk of parents or educators contracting the virus while in the centre? expand_more
We are advised by government health authorities that the current risk of infection as a result of a person diagnosed with COVID-19 attending a centre is low. People need to be considered a close contact of an infected person to be considered at risk. A close contact is typically someone who has been face-to-face for at least 15 minutes, or has shared the same closed space for at least 2 hours, with a person that was infectious. We have also been informed that the infected person needs to have been displaying symptoms when visiting the centre or have visited the centre within the 24 hours prior to displaying symptoms for the risk to escalate.
What should I do if I am planning an overseas trip? expand_more
It is essential that families planning overseas trips review the Smart Traveller website and comply with any travel restrictions or recommendations it provides in relation to Coronavirus. If you are planning on travelling overseas to any location you must to inform your Centre Manager.
What are the current travel restrictions? expand_more
As noted in our previous communication on this topic, we ask that all families make informed decisions regarding overseas travel in the coming months. We encourage you to consider the Australian Government’s travel advisory information available online at Smart Traveller.
The Federal Government has announced that as of 16 March, anyone arriving in Australia from overseas will be forced to self-isolate for 14 days. International cruise ships have been banned from docking in Australia for the next 30 days.
If you begin to feel unwell and develop a fever or shortness of breath, a cough or a respiratory illness during your period of self-quarantine you should seek immediate medical attention. If you experience any other symptom during your period of self-quarantine you should also seek immediate medical attention.
Will my child be going on excursions? expand_more
To protect the health and wellbeing of our children and team members we have made the decision to cease all excursions and incursions (where external providers of learning experiences e.g. sports, dance, music come into the centre), until further notice. Our educators and teachers will continue to provide high quality learning programs using the internal and external environments at our centres.
What is the likelihood of a centre closing? expand_more
It is impossible to predict with any certainty what may happen, however we are preparing for a scenario where we may need to close centres for a period of time. Decisions will be based on advice from Health Authorities or other government authorities, or if we believe we are unable to provide quality care or comply with regulations.
If a centre close, we will seek to accommodate children at nearby Guardian centres if possible and if allowed. This may not be possible in all cases. For those families where both parents work, or where care at home may be difficult, we encourage you to discuss contingencies with your employers in the event that your centre is required to close.
Where I can access COVID -19 news and resources in other languages? expand_more
There are many websites offering translated COVID 19 news and resources. Below you will find a list of websites that will assist you and your family to gather news in your preferred language.
How can I stay informed of the latest developments to stay healthy and help stop the spread of the virus? expand_more
As issues with the coronavirus changes and develops it’s important to stay informed. Help stop the spread, know your risk and monitor your health. These short videos detail good practices that everyone can adopt.
Are family members of confirmed cases being tested? expand_more
You need to be aware that the Health Authorities are not recommending testing for family members of confirmed cases. We obviously cannot require families to go against this advice. We have included a link to a self-assessment tool from the Victoria Health to help you understand how Health Authorities are instructing people at risk, or concerned they may have been exposed to a confirmed case, on the next steps they need to take.
Can I continue to use public transport safely? expand_more
University of Sydney health security expert Adam Kamradt-Scott on how to use Public Transport safely.
Health authorities around the nation are urging Australians to adopt “social distancing” measures. While we still practice kindness, this means no shaking hands, no hugs or kisses, and generally trying to stay around 1.5 metres away from each other whenever possible.
Unless someone is actively coughing and sneezing, then the personal risk of exposure is “actually quite low”. If you see someone who is visibly unwell on public transport, you just need to move carefully away from them so you can reduce your potential risk of exposure.
Associate Professor Kamradt-Scott said there were some groups who should avoid public transport in these early stages of the outbreak. He said people who are unwell – especially “those that are coughing and sneezing” – should refrain from traveling on public transport. And Australians at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, particularly people over 60 and anyone who is immunocompromised should reconsider taking trips for the time being.
On Monday, Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles was asked about social distancing and public transport on the ABC. “Use your common sense and keep as much distance as you can.”
Authorities are encouraging public transport users to change their plans by traveling outside peak travel times where possible.
What happens if my child displays symptoms of Covid whilst at the centre? expand_more
If a child displays symptoms consistent with Covid-19 it is important to remember that it could be this virus or several other illnesses. As we come into winter, we know that the prevalence of illness increases during this time such as the common cold and influenza. However, if your child does display symptoms we will request that they are collected and that medical attention is sought out. If your child is tested for Covid-19 they will be excluded until the outcome of testing and if negative may return in line with Health Department advice.
What happens if an educator displays symptoms of Covid whilst at the centre? expand_more
If an educator displays symptoms consistent with Covid-19 it is important to remember that it could be this virus or several other illnesses. As we come into winter, we know that the prevalence of illness increases during this time such as the common cold and influenza. However any educator who exhibits these symptoms whilst at the centre are sent home and is required to seek medical attention.
I have further questions, where can I go for answers? expand_more
We have also set up a dedicated email to respond to all family queries [email protected].
You should also regularly refer to the Federal Government Department of Health Website at www.health.gov.au .