NSW Department of Education COVID safety in early childhood education and care services: Guidance [Document Download]
Please refer to this page regularly and follow us on Facebook for the latest COVID-19 updates and information.
This Department of Education animation can be shared with families as a resource to remind them of the requirements when vising their early childhood education and care service.
NSW Department of Education Resources (31 August 2021)
On 31 August the Department held a webinar, Responding to COVID-19: Support for services and providers.
Given the rapidly changing nature of advice, this webinar was not recorded. However the Department has provided these links that support the information provided and topics discussed in the webinar.
- Information on cleaning after a COVID case.
- Draft template for families after a confirmed case in your service.
- Guided learning packages and webinar details.
- Our COVID-19 guidelines for ECEC services webpage.
- Priority vaccination booking information for LGAs of concern.
- Vaccine booking and information for others.
- Letter template services can send to families to encourage families to keep children home.
- Medical exemption form.
- Fairwork information on vaccines.
- FAQs on vaccines.
- Child Care Subsidy information from the Australian Government.
- Contact our COVID support team via our Information and Enquiries team by calling 1800 619 113 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
What you need to know: Restrictions for ECE services in some regional areas will change from midnight tonight Frequently asked questions on State Government funding are now available Further priority vaccination access options are being rolled out, including new appointments for Sydney and Wollongong Claims scheme now available to reimburse people following an adverse reaction to an approved COVID-19 vaccine NCIRS report on the COVID-19 Delta variant in schools and early childhood education and care services in NSW released Information on see-through masks to help staff communicate with students with hearing difficulties and through the use of facial expressions The new and improved Mentally healthy workplaces website is now online for use by NSW businesses
Dear services and providers
The Premier has announced updates for some regional areas which will commence as at midnight tonight. This will change the operational recommendations for services in these areas. This is outlined in this email, as well as some links for priority vaccination to help educators to meet the 8 November deadline to be double-dose vaccinated.
The department will continue to bring you regular updates as more information becomes available.
Changes for some regional areas as at midnight tonight
As announced today by the Premier, the stay-at-home orders in parts of regional NSW will be eased as planned from 12:01 am on Saturday 11 September.
The image below shows which LGAs will have restrictions eased.
Restrictions will continue to change, please refer to the NSW Government website
for the most up to date information and a list of impacted LGAs.
Children in LGAs where restrictions have eased can return to early childhood education and care services with the same rules in place as prior to the stay-at-home orders. In summary: Educators should wear masks in indoor and outdoor environments Services should continue to ensure strong hygiene practices and good ventilation in learning spaces Parents and carers should wear masks, check in using the Service NSW QR code and continue with COVID-safe practices with pick up and drop off Only essential visitors should be allowed at your services Excursions are not recommended at this time Travelling between LGAs with different levels of restrictions is allowed for the purposes of early childhood education and care
State Government funding FAQs now available
Services can now find answers to frequently asked questions around State Government funding and support available for early childhood education and care services on the Department’s early childhood education website.
Questions cover fees, business arrangements, Disability and Inclusion Programs and more.
Vaccination Update and Availability
A reminder that from 19 September all early childhood educators who live or work in the 12 LGAs of concern will be required to have received one dose of COVID-19 vaccination.
Vaccination will be mandatory for all other early childhood education and care educators and staff by 8 November. Two doses of the COVID-19 vaccination will be required by this date.
Priority Appointments in Sydney
NSW Health have priority Pfizer vaccination appointments available this week in some areas of Sydney for anyone aged 16 to 59. You no longer need to live or work in an LGA of concern to access these appointments.
Please encourage eligible staff to make a booking at one of the sites below. If they are unable to make an appointment, NSW Health have advised people to just show up and staff will assist:
Wednesday, 8 September
Riverwood, Morris Iemma Indoor Sports Centre
150 Belmore Road North.
Book an appointment at Riverwood
Wednesday, 8 September – Thursday, 9 September
Marrickville, PCYC Marrickville
Steel Park, 531-565 Illawarra Rd.
Book an appointment at Marrickville
Wednesday, 8 September – Friday, 10 September
Glebe, Peter Forsythe Auditorium
Francis Street Corner, Franklyn Street.
Book an appointment at Glebe
Thursday, 9 September – Saturday, 11 September
Zetland, Green Square Library
255 Botany Road.
Book an appointment at Zetland
Friday, 10 September – Sunday, 12 September
Ashfield, Wests Leagues Ashfield
115 Liverpool Road.
Book an appointment at Ashfield
NSW Health has also opened priority bookings for all Greater Sydney education workers at Qudos Bank Arena starting from 6 September. A guide on how to access a booking at Qudos Arena is available our vaccination page.
Priority Appointments in Wollongong on Saturday
NSW Health are running a Super Saturday vaccination day for school staff in Wollongong this Saturday 11 September at the Mass Vaccination Centre to help support staff to obtain their vaccination before the deadline of 8 November.
Saturday, 11 September (dose 2 will be on 9 October)
8am – 4pm
Wollongong Mass Vaccination Centre, Old David Jones
Building, Crown St Mall, Wollongong (Entrance via Globe Lane)
You are required to make a booking.
For those who are unable to attend on Saturday, there will be a walk-in clinic every Tuesday/Thursday and Saturday 12 – 4pm. Appointments are recommended, but not required, for the walk-in clinic.
Appointments in Regional NSW
In regional areas, COVID-19 vaccination is available through hubs, GPs, respiratory clinics, Aboriginal Medical Services and select pharmacies across regional NSW. We will continue to bring you regular updates when we become aware of increased hub availability.
Staff can also: Check the Western NSW Local Health District website to see if a walk in vaccination clinic is available in your area Book into an appointment-only regional and rural vaccination clinic Staff are encouraged to keep checking the NSW eligibility checker for bookings in your area and take advantage of whatever booking is available to you.
COVID vaccination claims scheme
COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Australia are safe and effective. There are strict requirements for testing and approving vaccines. Clinical trials must provide scientific evidence which demonstrates that the benefits of a vaccine greatly outweigh any risks.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration, or the TGA, has been rigorously assessing the potential COVID-19 vaccines for safety, quality and effectiveness.
Adverse reactions are extremely rare, however to address community concern, the Australian Government is developing a claims scheme to reimburse people who suffer a moderate to significant impact following an adverse reaction to an approved COVID-19 vaccine.
If you or a staff member has developed a rare adverse reaction, you can register your interest in making a claim.
NCIRS releases new report
NCIRS released their report yesterday about the COVID-19 Delta variant in schools and early childhood education and care services in NSW, Australia from 16 June to 31 July 2021.
The report suggests that most children diagnosed with COVID-19 during the current outbreak, including those who caught the infection in educational settings, experienced mild or no symptoms, with only two per cent requiring hospitalisation.
This is despite the high transmissibility of the Delta variant resulting in a five-fold increase in the spread of COVID-19 in schools, early childhood education and care (ECEC) services and households, when compared to the 2020 experience with the original strain of the COVID-19 virus.
The COVID-19 Delta variant in schools and early childhood education and care services in NSW, Australia report provides the latest data from an ongoing study by NCIRS and the University of Sydney in collaboration with NSW Health and the NSW Department of Education that has been tracking COVID-19 transmission in educational settings since March 2020.
See-through masks may be useful in ECE
We know that many educators are eager to ensure students can see and respond to their facial expressions, and that for some children clear enunciation or visibility of the educator’s mouth is essential.
We wanted to make educators aware that see-through masks are available for use in centers to help staff communicate with students with hearing difficulties and through the use of facial expressions.
Adults are required to wear masks in indoor and outdoor settings in Early Childhood Education and Care settings across NSW.
Exemptions for wearing masks for staff apply: where a child is deaf or hard of hearing; or the clear enunciation or visibility of the educator’s mouth is essential. More information is available on the COVID-19 guidelines for ECEC services webpage.
Mentally healthy workplaces website
Today is RUOK Day but we know that there is an ongoing mental health impact for the ECE sector and the broader community.
The new and improved Mentally healthy workplaces website aims to provide NSW businesses ongoing access to tools, resources and information to create sustainable mentally healthy workplaces. It offers: A one-stop shop for businesses to access information, resources, tools and support to create mentally healthy workplaces and look after their workers’ wellbeing at work Customer-centred design to effectively guide customers through the journey from raising mental health awareness to taking action. Comprehensive data and analytics to contribute to whole-of-government data and reporting For more information
The department regularly updates the COVID-19 Guidelines for ECEC services based on advice from NSW Health.
Educators are encouraged to regularly check the NSW Health website and NSW Government website regarding up-to-date restrictions in NSW. Here are some links that may be useful: Regional and rural NSW restrictions COVID-19 tests for Sydney workers COVID-19 vaccination for workers
If you have any questions about your service operation you can contact the Information and Enquiries team on 1800 619 113 or by emailing email@example.com.
CCSA continues to work with fellow colleagues and like minded organisations to advocate on behalf of the Early Childhood sector.
Go here to read a letter sent to the Premier on behalf of the Early Childhood Education Advisory Group seeking a meeting to discuss the impact of the current COVID outbreak and resulting lockdowns on ECEC services in NSW
CCSA Members are encouraged to contact us with questions and concerns for us to raise on your behalf when advocating for the sector.
Yesterday, NSW Health announced an extension of the first dose requirement for authorised workers in the LGAs of concern which was due to start today, 6 September.
What you need to know:
- All ECE workers living or working in the LGAs of concern now have until the end of 19 September 2021 to have received at least one dose of vaccination.
- Those who are not yet vaccinated will have until the end of Wednesday 8 September to book their vaccination.
- From 9 September authorised workers will be required to carry evidence of their booking if they leave their LGA for work.
- If an authorised worker is not vaccinated or does not have a medical contraindication form, they will not be able to work outside their LGA after 19 September 2021.
Getting vaccinated is an important way educators can protect themselves and the children in our services and their communities from COVID-19. If you are yet to receive your first vaccination, please make a booking today.
What you need to know:
- Vaccination will be mandatory for all early childhood education and care educators and staff by 8 November across NSW. Two doses of the COVID-19 vaccination will be required by this date and an updated Public Health Order is expected soon.
- A reminder that from 6 September all early childhood educators who live or work in the 12 LGAs of concern will be required to have received one dose of COVID-19 vaccination.
- Educators and staff in Greater Sydney can access priority AstraZeneca vaccinations at Qudos Bank Arena during the week beginning 6 September.
- Staff in regional NSW are encouraged to visit the eligibility checker and book their vaccination as soon as possible at a regional and rural vaccination clinic.
|On the back of the mandated vaccination news last week, CCSA can now confirm that Health has opened new vaccine hubs in the regions, with Pfizer.|
We have spoken with the Department last week, raising concerns about the limitations of bookings, timeframes and employment implications in being able to comply once the PHO is released.
If you are able to access the vaccination clinics please book in asap to ensure you are able to meet the 8th November deadline. If you are having problems with dates and access to vaccinations please don’t hesitate to let us know so we can continue to advocate on your behalf.
Regional locations include:-
Bathurst, Baradine, Bourke, Brewarrina, Canowindra, Cobar, Collarenebri, Condobolin, Coolah, Coonabarabran, Coonamble, Cowra, Dubbo, Dunedoo, Engowra, Ennogonia, Forbes, Gilgandra, Goodooga, Grenfell, Grawin/Sheep Yard, Gulargambone, Gulgong, Kandos, Lightning Ridge, Mudgee, Nyngan, Narromine, Orange, Parkes, Peak Hill, Trundle, Trangie, Rylstone, Walgett, Weilmoringle, Wellington.
See Full List of Vaccination Appointment Dates & Times
Other providers may also be offering COVID-19 near you. Visit the Online Eligibility Checker or call Health Direct on 1800 022 222 to register for appointments with these other services.
23 August, 2021
The Hon. Gladys Berejiklian, MP
Premier of New South Wales
52 Martin Place
SYDNEY NSW 2000
Re: NSW Early Childhood Education Advisory Group
Following statements made at your media conference on Friday, and announcement of the stringent additional controls to reduce transmission of the COVID Delta strain, the NSW Early Childhood Education Advisory Group has serious concerns about conflicting directives by Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant and now yourself, regarding instructions to parents and to our State’s 5800+ Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) services.
Confusion is now rife across our sector, among our workforce and the families we support. The statements made on Friday are not reflected in the Government’s latest Health Orders but were clear enough to create a new level of fear across our sector, about risk of transmission to and between children, staff and the families who interface via our services.
We request that a clear directive from the CHO is reflected in the Public Health Order and supported by funding to enable early education and care services to continue to support families during lockdown and assist the economy to reopen post lockdown.
By contrast to NSW, the recent lockdown in Queensland and the current one in the Australian Capital Territory and Victoria, included clear rules about who can and can’t attend early education and care services, limiting access to essential workers, including those working at home, disadvantaged children and those who can’t reasonably supervise their children. We request that the same restrictions apply in NSW.
The absence of clear rules, has today seen parents advising services that they will continue to send their children to early education and care, putting enormous pressure on services to manage parents’ expectations. The absence of clear rules is also at odds with the NSW Governments intent to restrict spread amongst households and keep the ECE sector safe.
The economy is critically connected to the sustainability of early education. As a recognised group of Peaks and organisations collectively representing thousands of early education and care services across NSW and tasked with providing advice to the Government, we fear that the consequence of not taking the PHO one step further, will result in services across NSW experiencing unsustainable financial and workforce loss. Ensuring safety and viability of services now, preserves the workforce and avoids a predicted high number of educators leaving. Loss of workforce means that the sector will not have the qualified educators needed to meet the early education and care places required that parents will need on the other side of restrictions.
On Friday, over 130 services were closed, and the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network is providing medical care to 700 children across NSW, with 223 children infected with COVID between 0-9 years of age. We again request clear advice on NSW Health findings related to health and safety for ECEC services based on the known risks of transmission of the Delta strain of COVID-19, including transmission by children. This is critical information which shapes how services operate in the current environment.
In addition, we seek clarity on your directive to families to keep their children home from child care in relation to the Family Assistance Law (FAL). The FAL does not provide federally funded services an opportunity to refuse a family access to a service. The mixed messaging is confusing. Could you provide direction on services ability to enact your directive to families and still stay within the bounds of the FAL?
We look forward to your immediate response.
Representatives of the NSW Early Childhood Advisory Group
Michele Carnegie, Chief Executive Officer, Community Early Learning Australia (CELA)
Melissa Messina, Representative, Local Government Children’s Services
Jenni Hutchings, Chief Executive Officer, Big Fat Smile
Chris Legg, Chief Executive Officer, KU Children’s Services
Associate Professor Sandy Wong, Macquarie School of Education
Pauline O’Kane, Chief Executive Officer, Network of Community Services
Professor Marina Papic, Australian Catholic University
Meg Mendham, Chief Executive Officer, Community Connections Solutions Australia (CCSA)
Andrew Paterson, Chief Executive Officer, Family Day Care Australia (FDCA)
Professor Marc de Rosnay, Academic Director, Early Start, University of Wollongong
Anita Jovanovski, Chief Executive Officer, NSW Family Day Care Association Inc.
Carol A Burgess, NSW State President, Ealy Childhood Australia (ECA)
Kim Bertino, State Manager NSW/ACT, Goodstart Early Learning
Elizabeth Death, Chief Executive Officer, Early Learning and Care Council of Australia (ELACCA)
Warren Jacobson, Director, Outside School Hours Council of Australia (OSHCA)
Media release from the NSW Premier and Treasurer
More detail will be posted on this page as it becomes available.
The NSW Government will be offering financial support to businesses impacted by the recent COVID-19 restrictions and stay-at-home orders.
If your business or not-for-profit organisation has been impacted by the restrictions, you may be eligible to apply from late July 2021.
Applications for the COVID-19 business support grant are expected to open from late July 2021.
Go here to see how you can get ready and avoid delays in completing your application, and register to be notified when the support program opens.
From Monday 12 July 2021 the Service NSW QR code will be mandatory at all workplaces and retail businesses including all early childhood centres and services. This requirement covers long day care, outside school hours care, family day care, preschool, mobile and out of scope services.
You will be required to display the Service NSW QR code and take reasonable steps to ensure all adult staff, families and visitors entering the service premises check in using the Service NSW QR code.
Children are excluded from this requirement.
You can read more about this and other COVID-19 guidelines for early childhood education and care services here on the NSW Department of Education website.
How to obtain a QR code
To obtain a unique QR code, go to the NSW Government website to register your service. Once you have registered you will receive:
• a unique QR code for COVID Safe Check-in with the Service NSW app
• the Service NSW Check-in webform, an online form for checking in customers who can’t use the QR code
• posters for your premises and social media badges
• a link to your personalised resources online.
Please contact the member Support Infoline on (02) 4782 1470 or 1800 991 602 (Option 2) if you need any further information.
What to do next
• Download and display your unique Service NSW COVID Safe Check-in poster. (Do not alter the poster in any way or the QR code may not display correctly).
• Display the QR code where it’s easy to see and easy for people to scan.
• Confirm the person has successfully checked in (look for the green tick on the confirmation screen).
Go here to find out more including the different ways people can check-in and how to help If someone needs help to check-in
Update from the NSW Department of Education