The ECU may confirm that a service has closed due to covid for reasons stated in the DESE advice – COVID-19 information for the early childhood education and care sector – dese.gov.au

1. Your service / approved provider submits a notification regarding service closure through the NQA ITS portal. See ACECQA’s guidance – NQA ITS Portal Emergency Management Help Guide (acecqa.gov.au).

Note: this notification will need to be in addition to a notification you submit in relation to a COVID-19 positive case.

2. An authorised officer from the ECU will contact when the notification has been received and will confirm you would like the ECU to review your circumstances in relation to gap-fee waivers/receipt of CCS.

The officer will ask you via email to explain how your service meets the DESE requirements, for example, why your service/room needs to close and for the expected length of time.

This information must be provided in writing to the Authorised Officer who has contacted you.

3. After receiving this information, the ECU will confirm, in writing, the Approved Provider’s decision to close the service.

4. Your service needs to keep this written confirmation as evidence and be able to provide it to the Australian Government.

Note: You will not be eligible for the gap-fee waiver/receipt of CCS if the reason for closure does not meet the DESE requirements.

 

If you require further clarification, please speak to your Point of Contact Officer.

No. Services can only waive the gap fee for the three reasons outlined in the Australian Government website – COVID-19 information for the early childhood education and care sector – dese.gov.au

If a family chooses to keep their child at home they may use their allowable absences, but must pay a gap fee to the service.

Details on how absences work and when to claim are outlined in the Australian Government’s website – Absences from child care – Department of Education, Skills and Employment, Australian Government (dese.gov.au)

 

 

Yes, the quarantine period is the same – 7 days from the last exposure with the confirmed positive case.

Category: Covid 19

Quarantine is not required for people who are not close contacts.

If a child has any symptoms of COVID, even mild, they should isolate with a parent/carer at home and be tested (RAT or PCR).

Category: Covid 19

Rapid Antigen tests are now accepted as formal diagnosis of COVID-19 in Tasmania.

The Tasmanian government has made a commitment to equip services with masks and Rapid Antigen test kits to make diagnosis more accessible to staff working in services.

Further information will be provided when they become available and the distribution process is finalised.

(25 January 2022)

Category: Covid 19

Schools and early childhood services are considered priority settings that may require close Public Health input and support where there is a COVID-19 exposure risk.

High-risk settings are residential aged care facilities, health facilities, disability facilities and correctional facilities (section 16 of the Public Health Act 1997).

Education and care services are not considered high-risk. See the Tasmanian Public Health website – High risk settings | Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

 

 

Category: Covid 19

Services must:

  • Notify all educators and families of children that attend the service and advise them to monitor for symptoms and seek testing if symptoms develop.
  • Actively monitor children for symptoms when they are attending the service. Implement infection control measures if a child is symptomatic and arrange for the child to be collected by a parent/carer.
  • Notify the ECU via the NQAITS portal. The ECU will compile information in a daily spreadsheet and send to Public Health. Public Health will monitor and manage potential outbreaks in consultation with the service.

 

If identified as a close contact, quarantine measures must be practiced from the last exposure with the case. Refer to the Public Health website for guidance on quarantine processes –  Advice for contacts | Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

The quarantine period for children and adults are the same.

If an outbreak in a service is identified by Public Health, services will be asked to complete a list of identified cases and close contacts to to assist in the reporting of cases and identification of close contacts.

Services must notify the ECU if Public Health has determined an outbreak has occurred.

Public Health does not automatically require an ECEC service to close if there is a case or outbreak linked to the setting. However, services may choose to close for operational requirements (e.g., due to the impact on staffing, or to manage a stubborn or large outbreak).

Refer to “What if our service needs to close because of COVID-19” FAQ for more information.

Category: Covid 19

Further to the Premier’s update on 20 January, children are not considered to be close contacts in relation to positive cases identified in an early childhood setting.

 

Category: Covid 19

The child would be considered a close contact if they had more than 4 hours exposure to the parent who tested positive

As such, the 7 days of quarantine for the child starts from when the parent is released from isolation by Public Health.

This brings the total quarantine period for a child to a minimum of 14 days.

If any additional household members test positive, then the child’s quarantine period will start again from their last contact with a confirmed case.

Category: Covid 19

Please see the Assessment and Rating Information Sheet 2020 for information about how the structure of A&R has changed in Tasmania to support the health and wellbeing of all children, families, educators, and staff.

Categories: Covid 19, FAQs

If the children are close contacts, they must quarantine for 7 days from last exposure/contact with the case.

Category: Covid 19

No, the children do not need to quarantine unless they are also close contacts.

Category: Covid 19

An outbreak is where there are 3 cases (staff or child) at an ECEC facility or service, identified within a 7-day period and with transmission reasonably expected to have occurred within the facility or service.

For example:

  • Five staff in the same ECEC service tested positive for COVID-19. However, as all 5 were infected through separate household contacts. This is not an outbreak.
  • In the same service, a staff member tests positive and 3 days after another staff member and a child test positive. None of the 3 cases had known contact with a positive case outside of the service. This would be managed as an outbreak.

Public Health will determine, based on the specific details of the circumstances, whether the scenario should continue to be treated as an outbreak.

In addition, if there is evidence of significant transmission or outbreak at a service between children/staff, Public Health may provide additional guidance regarding outbreak management and may adopt a stricter approach to the close contact definitions.

Category: Covid 19

Gap fees can be waived by FDC services if a child is unable to attend care because the educator (or member of the educator’s household) is required to isolate/quarantine.

In this situation, written closure advice from a government agency is not required.

The Australian Government Department of Health or Tasmanian Public Health may advise you of the need for a partial, or full closure.

If you decide to close or partially close your education and care service you must notify of any changes in response to managing a case or outbreak of COVID-19.

Please visit the Notifying the ECU section of our website for instructions on how to let us know about serious incidents and changes to service operations.

There are three instances where services can waive the gap fee and receive Child Care Subsidy (CCS) – this is outlined in the Australian Government website – COVID-19 information for the early childhood education and care sector – dese.gov.au:

  1. A child, or a member of their immediate household, must isolate due to COVID-19.
  2. The service, or a room at the service, is closed due to COVID-19 on written advice from a state or territory government authority such as a health, education or regulatory agency.
  3. The state or territory has restricted access to child care in a region due to COVID-19 (or has restricted school attendance in the case of Outside School Hours Care).

 

Refer to the FAQ “How do we obtain written advice from the regulatory authority (ECU) to apply the gap fee waiver due to closure of service resulting from COVID-19” for more information.

 

Gap fees can be waived by FDC services if a child is unable to attend care because the educator (or member of the educator’s household) is required to isolate/quarantine.

In this situation, written closure advice from a government agency is not required.

The Education and Care Unit Living with COVID-19 Response Plan outlines how the ECU will work with providers and services to undertake regulatory activities as we move into a new phase of ‘living with COVID-19’.

It is highly likely that our communities and services will have to manage identified cases of COVID-19. As indicated in the ECU Living with COVID-19 Response Plan, it is likely that we will move in and out of stages of managing the virus, which may occur at a regional, local or service level.

We will need to work in different ways, depending on whether services are:

  1. Protecting and minimising community transmission of COVID-19, or
  2. Managing cases and/or outbreaks of COVID-19

 

Assessment and Rating and unannounced monitoring visits may continue if your service is not managing any cases or outbreaks of COVID. Authorised Officers will continue to follow hygiene and physical distancing requirements, in line with Public Health advice and your service’s COVID-Safe plan. However, if your region, community or service is managing cases or experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19, Assessment and Rating and unannounced visits will not be conducted.

Our aim is that we work together effectively and continue to ensure children’s health, safety and wellbeing remain paramount. Living with COVID will require communication and flexibility. While we will endeavour to provide appropriate notice of changes to scheduled visits, this may not always be possible. Public Health directions and/or outbreaks impact on the operations of either the service or the ECU and visits may be postponed at short notice.

If you have any questions, please contact the ECU on 6165 6425 or 1800 816 057 or via ecu.comment@education.tas.gov.au or contact your point of contact authorised officer directly.

Category: Covid 19

Face masks are required in all public indoor settings, this includes a workplace such as education and care settings.

An exemption to wearing a face mask is made to enable clear communication as part of employment. This could apply to a childcare worker, but educators would need to put the face mask back on after speaking.

In summary:

  • face masks are required in all public indoor settings, this includes a workplace such as education and care / childcare services.
  • the requirement does not apply when outdoors.
  • an exception to wearing a face mask is made to enable clear communication as part of employment could apply to a childcare worker.
  • if a face mask is removed for the purpose of clear communication, it must then be put back on as soon as possible

 

Please refer to the coronavirus website for further information.

Category: Covid 19

If your service uses a bus to transport children you will need to put strategies in place in alignment with your service’s COVID-19 Safety Plan.

Passengers are encouraged to keep physical distancing in mind and choose a seat away from others, where possible.

For further information and guidance please see Public Transport and transport cleaning .

Category: Covid 19

Please visit the Living with COVID-19 in ECEC section of our website for information and links to resources for developing COVID-19 Safety Plans.

Category: Covid 19

Please visit the Living with COVID-19 in ECEC section of our website for information on safety measures.

Category: Covid 19

Please visit the Notifying the ECU section of our page for information about applying for a waiver.

Category: Covid 19

If anyone in the home is subject to self-isolation / quarantine restrictions then the FDC educator should not be operating.

Category: Covid 19

You will need to let us know if someone who accesses the service has tested positive for COVID-19. Please see the Notifying the ECU section of our website for more information.

Category: Covid 19

Services wishing to undertake excursions must ensure that risk assessments are conducted and consider any additional risks related to COVID-19. All other requirements including hygiene practices must be followed.

For information about changes to the National Regulations regarding the safe transportation of children, please visit ACECQA.

Category: Covid 19

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Updated 14 January 2022