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(This page was last updated on 4 June 2020.)
This COVID-19 advice is for staff at specific types of child care. This includes:
- out of school hours care (OSHC)
- vacation care
- long day care.
It applies to private and government-run services. It does not include family day care businesses.
See the Australian Government’s COVID-19 frequently asked questions for early childhood education and care providers for more advice.
Where possible, follow the social distancing guidance issued by the Australian Government.
The Safe Work Australia website also has information about physical distancing including:
- at drop off and pick up periods
- worker and child interactions
- staff only areas
- staff gatherings and training
- deliveries, contractors and visitors attending the workplace
- during lunch breaks.
Teach children handwashing techniques and personal hygiene. You can use a familiar song or rhyme to time hand washing. For example, sing 'Happy Birthday' twice.
Place posters on the service gate and on the grounds. This can reinforce the preventative practices at the service. For example, 'Know the signs' and 'Stop the spread'.
Supporting your staff
To help your staff feel less anxious you can:
- Regularly share up-to-date information.
- Listen carefully to their concerns.
- Be flexible about how you meet their needs.
- Guide staff to their social, health and community supports. For example, their GP or counselling services.
Mental health support services
- Mental health impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19) or call the Mental Health Support Line on 1800 632 753 – SA Health
- COVID-19: Supporting early learning communities – Be You
- Helping children cope with stress during the 2019-nCoV outbreak – World Health Organization
- Talking to children and young people about COVID-19 – Australian Red Cross.
The Australian Government has financial support for those affected by COVID-19. This includes:
- families and children using child care
- child care services and employees.
Employees can find out about financial support through Services Australia.
Support for businesses
The Australian Government has financial support for businesses.
- Cash flow assistance for business (PDF 249KB).
- Services Australia – help if affected by coronavirus.
- JobKeeper Payment – help to keep paying employees.
Keeping your service open and protecting educators
You might have educators who do not want to provide care. You can change the roles and responsibilities for educators who are at risk. For example, anyone who:
- is in a high risk age
- has an underlying medical condition.
Difficultly meeting staffing requirements
If your service is finding it hard to meet qualification or ratio staffing requirements, you can apply through the NQA IT system for a waiver.
See the Fair Work Ombudsman website for more advice.
Service closures and your employees
Employers should always seek industrial advice when making decisions that will affect people’s employment. Contact the Fair Work Ombudsman.
If you do not have enough children coming in, there are some actions you should do.
- Follow your service’s booking cancellation policies.
- See support for businesses to find out how the Australian Government can help.
To receive relief package payments your service must stay open, unless closed because of:
- public health advice
- other health and safety reasons.
Confirming a child or staff member has COVID-19
SA Health will contact the OSHC service to confirm the presence of a COVID-19 case. Sometimes a staff member or parent will also advise the OSHC service of a positive test result. You must keep this strictly confidential until more action is confirmed by the relevant government authority.
- OSHC director must call the principal immediately.
- Principal contacts the education director.
Closing the site
The service must close for at least 24 hours. Families will need to pick up children immediately. A case manager from the Department for Education will help manage the closure. They will support the:
- OSHC director or third party OSHC provider
This will either be on site or over the phone.
Closure will allow public health officials to work with the service provider to identify and notify any close contacts. They can then advise on treatment and self-isolation.
Emergency contact details – prepare a list
To be prepared, make sure you have the current email addresses and mobile phone numbers for parents and carers of all children enrolled at the service. Check their emergency contact details are correct.
Notify the Australian Government and the Education Standards Board
If a closure happens, the service should:
- notify the Australian Government – use the service’s third party software
- notify the Education Standards Board – use the NQAITS Portal.
Cleaning and reopening of the site
The site will be thoroughly cleaned. It will only reopen:
- on the advice of health experts
- when it is safe to do so.
General members of the public can call the South Australia COVID-19 Information Line on 1800 253 787 (8am to 8pm, 7 days a week) or visit www.sa.gov.au/covid-19.
Visit the Australian Government’s website for regular updates on the early childhood education and care package.
Parents and carers should contact their school or preschool at first.
COVID-19 (coronavirus) team
Email: education.covidcoordination [at] sa.gov.au