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COVID-19 key ECEC information

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It is important that all services are aware of current advice and updates regarding the COVID-19 virus. The amount of information and misinformation circulating can be incredibly overwhelming. Information is changing rapidly and the best way to stay up to date is to refer to reliable websites as a source of truth.

CELA is committed to providing members and the wider ECEC community with the most up to date and accurate information relating to the sector. We are dedicated to advocating for the government to support not for profit and small providers to continue viability in these uncertain times.

In this week’s Amplify we provide an overview of key sector touchpoints and a spotlight on our advocacy for not for profit and small providers.


CELA operations

During these unprecedented times, CELA will continue to provide our usual support for the sector through our 1800 number, email, Amplify! Member News and Broadside.

We are also implementing measures to ensure that we continue to provide our current services while putting a focus on the safety and wellbeing of the community. To this end, we have postponed our annual Mobile Meet and will temporarily move our consultancy and training services online via webinar and video conference.

Should you have any particular matters that you would like to discuss in relation to your service’s specific circumstances or information relating to COVID-19, we are just a phone call away. Please contact us on 1800 157 818 or info@cela.org.au. We are committed to working with you during these challenging times.


Advocacy overview

CELA has sent a clear message to Federal and State Governments that our not for profit and small providers are at risk of financial collapse if sufficient support isn’t provided to ensure business continuity.

Our sector operates on small profit margins that are reinvested in our children – our services do not have nest eggs to tide them through an economic crisis.

You will no doubt be aware of information from the Commonwealth Department of Education regarding its response to the potential impact of COVID-19 on Early Childhood Education services funded under CCS.

Community Child Care Fund Services Special Circumstances Grant Opportunities will be made available to approved providers in disadvantaged and vulnerable communities, or servicing disadvantaged and vulnerable sectors of their communities, who are at risk of closure due to viability issues resulting from an unforeseen event or circumstance, such as reduced enrolments or forced closures in response to COVID-19. This funding can be used for a range of reasons including to cover temporary operating costs, as well as reasonable activities to ensure continuity of care.

We welcome this positive first step and actively seeking further details regarding:

  • What constitutes a disadvantaged sector of a community;
  • Quantum of funding available, including whether wages will be funded in a shutdown;
  • Timing and process for major grants above $10,000.

You are encouraged to look at the fact sheet and acquaint yourself with the information you may need to prepare quickly to respond to the financial impact of COVID-19 on your service.


Members

  • In response to member requests, we have developed a COVID-19 policy. This policy will guide you in implementing vigilant hygiene practices that prevent the spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19. Members can download the policy here (login to view).
  • Members can download our latest edition of Broadside for more information including the latest advice on public gatherings, funding, absences and CCS, plus more detail on our sector advocacy. Download Broadside (login to view).
  • We have created a new COVID-19 section in the member resource library, we will update information regularly.
    To access it, simply head to the member resources area and click COVID-19
  • We will keep members updated on a regular basis through our member news.

Should you have any particular matters that you would like to discuss in relation to your service’s specific circumstances or information relating to COVID-19, please contact us on 1800 157 818 or membership@cela.org.au. We are committed to working with you during these challenging times.

Not a member? Find out more


NSW Department of Education COVID-19 Online session

Wednesday 18 March – Register now:

The NSW Department of Education will be holding an initial truncated online Roadshow session that will focus on COVID-19. This will be an opportunity for us to provide you with the most up-to-date information we have from all areas of government. It will also be an opportunity for you to ask questions.

The situation is evolving rapidly and an effective response requires a whole of government approach. We may not yet be in a position to answer all of your questions but we do want to hear them and answer whatever we can.

The first online session will be held:
Wednesday 18 March – 3:30pm – 5:00pm

REGISTER HERE
Once registered, you will be provided with the link to access the forum.

For any services unable to attend the online forum tomorrow, the presentation will be uploaded to the Department’s website.


IMPORTANT – Coronavirus Webcast for Providers and Services this Thursday

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment is holding a webcast for child care providers and services to discuss the existing support mechanisms in place to assist the early childhood education and care sector in managing the impacts of COVID-19. The webcast will cover current support available for families and providers and answers to frequently asked questions.

The webcast will take place on Thursday, 19 March from 11:30am – 12:00pm (AEDT)*.

Providers and services can watch the webcast live here. The link will only activate 5 minutes prior to the webcast commencing.

There is no need to register for this event.

*Time zones for Thursday 19 March 11:30am – 12:00pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time (NSW, ACT, VIC, TAS); 11:00am – 11:30am Australian Central Daylight Time (SA); 10:30am – 11:00am Australian Eastern Standard Time (QLD); 10:00am – 10:30am Australian Central Standard Time (NT); 8:30am – 9:00am Australian Western Standard Time (WA).


Key sources of information

Australian Government Department of Health

We advise you to check updates from the Australian Government Department of Health on a daily basis. It provides information and advice for community and businesses in New South Wales. The page includes information on what to do if you or a colleague is feeling unwell, latest updates, facts and resources Australian Government Department of Health

The Australian Government Department of Health website also includes specific Information for schools, early childhood centres, students and their parents:

Coronavirus Health Information Line

Call this line if you are seeking information on novel coronavirus. The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 1800 020 080.

Public Health Unit

What to do if you suspect a child or staff member at your service has COVID-19 or has come in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19:

You are advised to notify and seek advice from your local Public Health Unit when you suspect an infectious disease has impacted your service.

Your local Public Health Unit in NSW can be contacted on 1300 066 055. For other states and territories click here.

Regulatory Authority

What to do if you close your service, either voluntarily, or as advised by your local Public Health unit:

Any incident that requires the Approved Provider to close or reduce the number of children attending a service for a period requires notification to your State or Territory Regulatory Authority within 24 hours.

If a child or staff member at your service is diagnosed with COVID-19 you are required to report any risk or incident of infectious disease to:

  • Regulatory Authority in your State or Territory
  • Your local Public Health Unit: 1300 066 055 in NSW, other states and territories click here.

A confirmed case of COVID-19 is a serious incident and as such requires notification as soon as practicable within 24 hours.

How to notify the Regulatory Authority:

Lodge the notification through your National Quality Agenda IT System (NQA ITS)

Or contact the Regulatory Authority directly in your State or Territory:

Services are asked to remain diligent in reporting responsibilities and any directions provided to the service by the Ministry of Health.

For information about reporting requirements, please refer to Spotlight on Quality issue 5 – Unpacking reporting responsibilities.


Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment

Information for child care providers and services.

This information sheet outlines the existing robust and responsive support mechanisms in place to assist the early childhood education and care sector when special circumstances affect its businesses. These mechanisms have been designed specifically with the needs and circumstances of the early childhood education and care sector in mind.

How to protect yourself and others

  • If you develop a fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath within 14 days of overseas travel or are in contact with someone else who has COVID-19, seek medical attention: call your GP, Healthdirect on 1800 022 222, or in an emergency, your local hospital emergency department.
  • Clean your hands regularly, cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue. Face masks aren’t recommended for people without symptoms. Importantly – stay at home if you’re feeling unwell.
  • Early childhood education and care services are reminded to provide appropriate handwashing soap as hand washing is the single most effective way to reduce the spread of germs that cause respiratory disease.
  • As always, children or staff who are unwell and reasonably suspected to have a communicable disease should be excluded from your service until they are cleared by a doctor to return.
    You should notify the Regulatory Authority and your local Public Health Unit if children or staff have been excluded and/or are reasonably suspected to have a communicable disease (see above).

Government Support

This information sheet outlines support mechanisms in place to assist early childhood education and care services, funded through CCS, affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19)


Obligations as an employer

Find out about your workplace entitlements and obligations if you’re affected by the outbreak of COVID-19.

We encourage employees and employers to work together to find appropriate solutions that suit the needs of individual workplaces and staff. This may include taking different forms of leave, working from home, or taking extra precautions in the workplace.

Refer to the Fair Work Australia website to find out the answers to these important questions:

  • Where can I get information on health and safety in the workplace?
  • What happens if an employee or their family member is sick with coronavirus?
  • What if an employee is stuck overseas or required to be quarantined?
  • What if an employee wants to stay home as a precaution?
  • What if an employer wants their staff to stay home?

Additional funding – small business incentives

The Commonwealth Government has announced additional funding as part of its Economic Response to the Coronavirus. The Boosting Cash Flow for Employers measure will provide up to $25,000 back to small and medium-sized businesses, with a minimum payment of $2,000 for eligible businesses. The payment will provide cash flow support to businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million that employ staff. The payment will be tax-free.

Services are invited to look at the government website, to find additional information on funding available including asset write-offs and apprentice and trainee wage subsidies. To find additional information on funding available including asset write-offs and apprentice and trainee wage subsidies.

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