Isolation and Close Contacts

Yes, all close contacts must have a negative result prior to attending care.

Refer to this fact sheet ‚ÄstBest Practice Early Childhood¬†under the heading ‘People with symptoms‘ for the latest guidance from Public Health on close contact rules in ECEC settings.

 

The close contact rules can be found in this link –¬†Changes to close contact quarantine. Please continue to refer to this link checking¬†for details.

Refer to this fact sheet –¬†Best Practice Early Childhood¬†for the latest guidance from Public Health on close contact rules in ECEC settings.

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Notifications

As Public Health considers COVID-19 a notifiable disease, services need to notify the ECU of cases.

NQF Services may notify us:

  • initially through the NQAITS; and
  • notify every subsequent case within a 7 day period to your point-of-contact officer.
  • note: after the 7 day window, a new notification in the NQAITS must be made.

Licensed Services may notify us:

Note:

Refer to page 7 of the TAS ECEC COVID-19 Outbreak Management Guidelines for immediate actions services should take in the event a case is discovered in an ECEC setting.

Please NOTE the following:

  • Unless otherwise advised by Public Health, services no longer have to send Public Health line lists if a case is in identified in an ECEC setting.
  • If a child or staff member tests positive but were NOT at the service within the last 48 hours you are not required to notify the ECU.
  • If the positive test result was obtained as part of testing in the service, you must also notify Public Health by¬†registering the positive test result online –¬†Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) – Positive Result Declaration Form (health.tas.gov.au)

Depending on circumstances, RAT Testing of children might be conducted by parents, ECEC staff or childhood educator.

Public Health advises in their fact sheet ‚ÄstBest Practice Early Childhood¬†under the heading ‚ÄėCOVID-19 requirements‚Äė – If a positive test result is obtained, Public Health should be notified immediately.

Services should not be concerned about overlaps in reporting as Public Health is prepared to receive multiple notifications from various sources.

Public Health has a process to streamline multiple notifications (whether registered by schools, parents and education and care services) and determine if they are part of the same outbreak.

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Safety measures

The Public Health Direction РVaccination requirements in relation to Early Childhood Facilities РNo. 1 (vaccination mandate)  expired on 1 July 2022 as the Emergency Declaration is no longer in effect.

Persons will no longer be subject under the Public Health Act 1997 to be vaccinated before they can ‚Äúenter, or remain‚ÄĚ on a site where ECEC services operate.

However, ECEC services retain the right to have policies in place requiring their workforce to be vaccinated or impose restrictions on the entry of certain persons on-site for health and safety reasons.

Refer to this fact sheet ‚ÄďBest Practice Vaccination¬†under the heading ‚Äė¬†Should I require COVID-19 vaccination in the workplace? ‚Äė for the latest guidance from Public Health.

 

Refer to this fact sheet ‚ÄstBest Practice Early Childhood¬†under the heading ‘Best practice COVID-19 control measures for early childhood education and care services’ for the latest guidance from Public Health on close contact rules in ECEC settings.

Also visit our Information for living with and managing COVID-19 in ECEC settings section of our website for information and links to resources.

Services should develop COVID-19 Safety Plans under the minimum standards outlined in the COVID-19 Safe Workplaces Framework .

Refer to this fact sheet from Public Health on ‚ÄstBest Practice: Facemasks¬†on¬† when facemasks are recommended and when they are mandatory.

From 1 July 2022, there will no longer be a public health emergency declaration in response to COVID-19, in Tasmania
COVID-19 will still need to be managed carefully.
Ongoing management of COVID-19 will be through Orders under the Public Health Act (1997).
Refer to this Public Health factsheet for information about ongoing management of COVID-19 in Tasmania and individual and workplace responsibilities.

Yes. if you are a close contact, you are still required to wear a face mask indoors.

However, Public Health have advised that children under the age of 12 are exempt from this close contact rule.

Yes, the child may still attend care after their isolation period ends.

A temporary exemption from the vaccination requirements to enter ECEC settings under the Public Health Direction of up to four months (starting from release from isolation) can be applied.

Public Health has permitted this temporary exemption to give the child reasonable time for recovery before completing the final dose of the vaccination.

The four month period does not mean the child is unable to obtain their final dose prior to the four month period if they have already recovered.

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Testing

Yes, all close contacts must have a negative result prior to attending care.

Refer to this fact sheet ‚ÄstBest Practice Early Childhood¬†under the heading ‘People with symptoms‘ for the latest guidance from Public Health on close contact rules in ECEC settings.

 

In event of an outbreak at an ECEC, Public Health has advised that persons who have contracted COVID-19 within an 8 week period are not required to test.

People who have recovered from COVID-19 usually develop an immunity from catching it again eight weeks after infection.

Please refer to Leaving isolation after having COVID-19 | Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) for more information.

If your child has hay fever symptoms, please keep them at home and test for COVID-19 using a rapid antigen test (RAT).

If your child tests negative on a RAT and symptoms continue, Public Health advises that you must do a second RAT 24 hours later, or seek a PCR test.

If the second RAT or PCR remains negative, this will be sufficient evidence for your child to return to care if they feel well.

If symptoms change or increase in severity, please see your treating medical practitioner for review.

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Gap-fee waivers

There are four instances where services can waive the gap fee and receive Child Care Subsidy (CCS) ‚Äď this is outlined in the Australian Government website ‚Äď 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 child is at a higher risk of severe disease from COVID-19.
  3. The service, or a room at the service, is closed due to COVID-19.
  4. The state or territory has restricted access to child care in a region due to COVID-19.

Services must not waive the gap fee for families in any other circumstances.

Updated 2 February 2022

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) must isolate/quarantine due to COVID-19.

Updated 2 February 2022

No. Services can only waive the gap fee for the reasons outlined in the Australian Government website ‚Äď 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‚Äôs website ‚Äď Absences from child care – Department for Education, Children and Young People, Skills and Employment, Australian Government (dese.gov.au)

Updated 2 February 2022

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Regulatory matters

Public Health has advised that children who are close contacts are now permitted to attend care, subject to close contact rules.

Decisions regarding enrolment and attendance of children who are close contacts over and above Public Health requirements is a business decision for a service to make.

If services decide not to allow close contacts to attend, their decisions should be well-documented and make in consideration of regulations 168(2)(c) and 168(2)(h) and be aligned with their COVID-19 safety plans.

These recommendations are not exhaustive in any way and services are responsible for their compliance with the National Law or Child Care Act as it applies to all their business decisions. 

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

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.

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