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Current Settings in early childhood education and care services

There are a number of restrictions relevant to early childhood education and care (ECEC) services

There are a number of restrictions relevant to ECEC services, including long daycare, family daycare, and integrated and sessional kindergarten programs. For more information visit COVIDSafe Settings.

Current Settings relevant to ECEC services

Onsite learning

ECEC services are open for all children, with appropriate risk mitigation measures in place (unless instructed by the Department of Health (DH) to close). All services must have a COVIDSafe Plan in place.

This includes kindergarten, long daycare, and family daycare and outside school hours care (OSHC).

For more information visit early childhood education and care service operations.

Face masks

For information about face masks in education settings, including ECEC, visit Face masks - study and school.

Square metre rules (density limits) in ECEC

The square metre rule (density limit) for both metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria is one person per two square metres.

The square metre rules (density limits) apply to offices and areas accessible to visitors, such as reception and foyer areas, and children’s rooms, when these are open to visitors. They do not apply to children’s rooms used exclusively by children and staff.

QR codes

The use of the Victorian Government’s Services Victoria QR Codes for electronic record keeping will be mandatory for all workplaces from Thursday 24 June 2021, including ECEC providers of all types. This is to enable the effective contact tracing of any COVID-19 cases.

QR code check-ins will be required for all visitors who enter ECEC buildings and indoor spaces, including:

  • all visitors
  • all contractors, external staff, and building and maintenance staff
  • all parents and carers during child drop off and pick up and during individual scheduled orientation sessions for new starters who are enrolled at the service.

QR code check-ins will not be required for service staff or children.

Given family daycare providers operate from a residential premise, they are not required to use the Victorian Government QR Code Service, however, existing record-keeping requirements continue to be required. 

For more information visit early childhood education and care COVID-19 QR codes.

Translated posters explaining how to check in are available to support visitors, and parents and carers.

Visitors to services, including child drop off and pick up

In line with the broader easing of restrictions in the community, visitors are now permitted on-site including for incursions.

Services must apply a square metre rule (density limit) in areas accessible to visitors (such as reception and foyer areas, and children’s rooms if these are open to visitors) and shared workspaces (such as staff lunchrooms).The square metre rule (density limit) in both metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria is one person per two square.

Services should prioritise visitors who will best meet the needs of children and staff.

Parent tours can now resume with adherence to the square metre rule (density limits).

Visitors must comply with face mask requirements, keep at least 1.5 metres from others, whenever possible, ensure good hand hygiene, and check-in using the QR code when entering buildings and indoor spaces.

During child drop off and pick up:

  • services must apply the relevant density limit. This might be enabled via staggered entry into services, where viable
  • services must apply a square metre rule (density limit) of one person per two square metres in areas accessible to the public (such as reception and foyer areas). This might be enabled via staggered entry into services, where viable
  • parents and carers must:
    • wear a face mask and keep at least 1.5 metres from others wherever possible
    • check-in using the QR code when entering buildings and indoor spaces

Temperature checking

Temperature checking is not required. Services should promote compliance of COVIDSafe measures. This includes reminding staff, children and families that they should stay home if experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, getting tested and following the relevant health advice.

Health promotion materials are available for you to print and use.

Visit managing an unwell child or staff member.

Excursions

Excursions are now permitted across Victoria and must be conducted in line with any specific capacity limits on venues that are being used.

Excursion venues are responsible for managing record keeping for contact tracing in line with current public health directives. Venues are required to use the Victorian Government QR Code Service. An electronic or hard copy list of children’s names (full name required) and parent/carer contact number for each child must be provided to the venue. Children are not required to individually check-in at the venue on the day. If the parent/carer contact number is unknown, a service contact number may be used, but this should be the exception.

Parent consent forms should also be updated to advise parent/carers/guardians that, when required, services will be providing excursion venues with contact details for contact-tracing purposes.

Services should contact venues prior to the excursion to discuss record keeping arrangements, particularly to clarify responsibility of entering children’s details into the Service Victoria QR code digital system (kiosk check-in) held by the venue.

Bush kinders may continue operating.

Singing and music

Group singing activities and playing wind and brass instruments is permitted in all ECEC services, though services should consider risk mitigation measures such as moving outdoors, increasing ventilation and maintaining physical distancing of at least two metres between performers.

ECEC service event on site

On-site events that involve families can now resume with adherence to density limits.

It's important to note that community facilities in both metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria can operate with a square metre rule (density limit) of one person per two square meters when using a COVID Check-in Marshal (if there is no COVID Check-in Marshal, a square metre rule (density limit) of one person per four square metres applies).

Meetings and professional development

On-site meetings and professional development can resume with a density limit applied, or in line with any specific requirements and capacity limits on external venues that are being used.

Orientation and transition

Orientation and transition arrangements in ECEC services can resume across Victoria with adherence to density limits.

Any parent or carer in attendance must comply with face mask requirements and maintain at least 1.5 metres physical distance from others, whenever possible.

Victorian travel permit system

A Victorian travel permit system is in place for all domestic travel into Victoria. The permit system – which allows for areas across Australia to be zoned as green, orange or red according to their COVID-19 risk – applies to Victorian residents returning from interstate travel as well as interstate residents travelling to Victoria.

Staff and children are able to return to their ECEC service when they have complied with the requirements of their permits.

Staff and families attending services should consider any potential impacts if they are planning to travel interstate. If a risk level in an interstate location changes, families may not be permitted entry into Victoria without an exemption or until the risk level in the area they are travelling from is downgraded. If travel back into Victoria is permitted, families may be required by DH to isolate on their return to Victoria and, therefore, be unable to attend services for a period of time. Services may wish to advise parents of the relevant absence policies that would apply in this circumstance.

Further information is available on the Travel updates and COVID-19 border entry webpages.

A ‘border bubble’ is in place for cross-border communities in Victoria, NSW and South Australia. Residents in these communities don’t need to apply for a travel permit, they just need to carry proof of residential address (such as a driver’s licence).

There are different conditions if an individual has been to an orange zone or red zone outside of the cross-border community, or if they have COVID-19, any symptoms, or are a close contact.

Visit Information for cross-border communities for details and advice.

COVIDSafe behaviours: key actions for ECEC services

    • Stay home and get tested if experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild.
    • Unless they have a lawful reason not to, individuals aged 12 and above must carry a face mask at all times when they leave home. A face mask must be worn in certain settings
    • QR code check-ins are required for all visitors who enter ECEC buildings and indoor spaces, including contractors, external staff, building, and maintenance staff, and parents and carers, including during child drop off and pick up, and during individual scheduled orientation sessions for new starters who are enrolled at the service.

    • Regular hand hygiene.
    • Physical distancing of at least 1.5 metres between adults in all settings.

Create COVIDSafe spaces: key actions for ECEC services

    • Ensure high touch surfaces are cleaned and disinfected twice daily
    • The square metre rule (density limit) for both metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria is one person per two square metres, in any spaces accessible to the public (such as reception areas) and shared workspaces (such as lunchrooms).
    • Enhanced ventilation (where possible). Further advice to assist with managing ventilation is available from the Victorian Department of Health.

Promote COVIDSafe activities: key actions for ECEC services

    • In line with broader easing of restrictions in the community, visitors are permitted on-site including for incursions. Services should prioritise visitors who will best meet the needs of children and staff.
      • Services must apply a density limit in areas accessible to visitors (such as reception and foyer areas, and children’s rooms if these are open to visitors) and shared workspaces (such as staff lunchrooms)
      • The square metre rule (density limit) is one person per two square metres in both metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.
      • Visitors must comply with face mask requirements and should practice hand hygiene and physical distancing of 1.5 metres
      • Visitors must check-in using QR codes when entering buildings and indoor spaces
    • Structured Workplace Learning (for VCE, VCAL and VET students) and work experience placements across Victoria.
    • SBATs ( School Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships
    • Pre-service Teachers and educators, including Initial Teacher Education (ITE) and Vocational Education Training (VET)
      • Many ECEC students have had their learning journey disrupted by COVID-19. Providing them with a work placement not only helps them to fulfill their aspirations to join or progress in the profession but also supports the availability of skilled staff in the future to work with you in your service
    • Students undertaking placements must comply with electronic record-keeping requirements by checking in using QR codes
    • Excursions are permitted across Victoria and must be conducted in line with any specific capacity limits on venues that are being used. Bush kinders may continue operating
    • Photography sessions with an external visitor are permitted
    • Parent tours can now resume with adherence to density limits
    • On-site meetings and professional development can resume with a density limit applied, or in line with any specific requirements and capacity limits on external venues that are being used.
    • Group singing activities and playing wind and brass instruments are permitted in services, though services should consider risk mitigation measures such as moving outdoors increasing ventilation, and maintaining physical distancing of at least two metres between performers
    • Private and/or community group facility hire (for example, hire of the facility for a fee). Hiring organisation must follow DH advice for community facilities including the application of a square metre rule (density limit) of one person per two square metres in both metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.

Respond to COVID-19 risk: Key actions for ECEC services

    • Maintain adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) supply

Reviewed 12 July 2021

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