COVID-19 update

  • FAQs on children and vaccination are now available from the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance website.
  • Due to the impact of COVID-19, the Office of Children’s Guardian has extended Working with Children Checks that were due to expire from 27 September-26 January for a further three months.
  • Services should continue to rehearse emergency and evacuation procedures every three months.
  • Support for your service may be available from the Australian Department of Education, Skills and Employment.
  • Important for OSHC: school return dates have been updated – kindergarten and year 1 will return 18 October, all other students will return 25 October.
Dear services and providers

All early childhood education and care staff are required to have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccination by 8 November to ensure the health and safety of our early childhood education and care community, as reflected in the current Public Health Order. You cannot continue to work in ECEC services on or after this date if you have not received two doses of the vaccine. Further information about this requirement can be found on our website or on NSW Health’s website.

A reminder to stay informed with the current health advice and restrictions relevant to your local area, which are regularly updated on the NSW Government website.  

Until 18 October 2021 in areas where stay-at-home orders are in place, families are strongly encouraged to keep their children at home where they are able to do so. In areas where stay-at-home orders are lifted, children can return to early childhood education and care services with the same rules in place as prior to the stay-at-home orders.

Applications are closing soon for the Jobsaver payment through Service NSW, make sure you apply by 18 October 2021.

Resources for families


FAQs on children and vaccination are now available from the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance website.

Information for families on COVID-19 and early childhood education is now available for services to share with families, and covers:
  • Attendance
  • Vaccination
  • COVID-19 testing
  • Procedures where children are unwell.

Working with Children Checks


Due to the impact of COVID-19, the Office of Children’s Guardian has extended clearances that were due to expire from 27 September-26 January for a further three months. People who are granted an extension will be advised by email and the system will be automatically updated. This extension will not apply to those previously extended in July 2021.

Service NSW remains open for critical services, including renewing WWCC clearances. Educators with WWCCs that are due within the 12 weeks can present at a service centre and have their WWCC renewal processed. Further information is available here.

Educators should ensure that they keep their WWCC contact details up to date. This can be done via the Service NSW website or the Office of the Children’s Guardian website.

We remind services and providers that it is against the law to engage anyone in child-related work without a WWCC. For further information, please visit the Office of the Children’s Guardian website.

Emergency and Evacuation Procedures


Regulations require services to rehearse their emergency and evacuation procedures every three months. The purpose of rehearsals is to build the capability over time to properly manage the evacuation response in the event of an emergency.

Services can review and adjust their emergency and evacuation procedures for suitability to accommodate any COVID-19 restrictions. Consideration may be given to the reasonable, practicable controls that can be introduced to assist services in meeting their requirements during this period.

This might include, for example, undertaking partial evacuations as part of the emergency procedure, or adding items such as masks and hand sanitiser as items to be taken with you in the event of an emergency.

For more information, the department has prepared a suite of resources to assist services in their emergency and incident management.
 

Return to school – important information for OSHC


Return to school dates have been updated today. Students will return to face-to-face learning with NSW Health-approved COVID-safe settings on school sites in the following order:
  • from 18 October – department preschools, Kindergarten, Year 1
  • from 25 October – all remaining year groups.
Vaccination will be mandatory for all educators, including in before and after school care settings, from 8 November 2021 under the Public Health Order. If an employee falls under the requirements of the Public Health Order but has not had required vaccinations, or has not obtained a medical contraindication certificate, they will not be able to attend their workplace on or after this date. 

The Department of Education strongly encourages workers on school sites to be double vaccinated in time for the return to school on 18 November where possible.

Before and after school care providers should check the vaccination status of educators they employ to ensure compliance. Principals should direct questions about vaccination status of educators who work in before and after school care settings to the provider of the service.  

Services receiving continuity payments


You don’t need to tell the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) you are coming out of lockdown. They will contact you about how the end of lockdown affects payments. If the hotspot ends during the first week of a business continuity payment fortnight, you will still receive the full fortnightly payment.

Importantly, you must continue to waive gap fees until the end of the fortnightly payment.

You must let DESE know if your circumstances change and you no longer meet payment conditions. Send an email to ECECViabilitySupportPackage@dese.gov.au and ask for a change of circumstances form.
 

More information from DESE


DESE regularly contact providers and services with information about COVID-19 support in their region.

Make sure your contact details are up to date in the Child Care Subsidy System. Do this via the Provider Entry Point or your third-party software.

Ask relevant staff at your service to subscribe to the DESE newsletter.

For more information


We encourage staff to review our COVID-19 guidelines for ECEC services webpage regularly, and to access our sector updates.

Educators are encouraged to check the NSW Health website and NSW Government website regarding up-to-date restrictions in NSW.

If you have any questions about your service operation you can contact the Information and Enquiries team on 1800 619 113 or by emailing ececd@det.nsw.edu.au.
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