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COVIDSafe Settings in early childhood education and care services

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

COVIDSafe Settings are now in place across Victoria. For more information, visit COVIDSafe Settings.

There are a number of restrictions relevant to ECEC services, including long day care, family day care and integrated and sessional kindergarten programs.

COVIDSafe Settings relevant to ECEC services

Onsite learning

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

This includes kindergarten, long day care, family day care, and outside school hours care (OSHC), only if they are eligible to attend school.

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

Face masks

Face masks are no longer mandatory in all indoor spaces across Victoria, including in ECEC settings.

For information about face masks including when you must wear them visit: Face masks.

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

Visitors to services, including incursions

There are no restrictions on the number or type of visitors to an ECEC site, as long as a density limit of one person per two square metres is applied.

Visitors must comply with the physical distancing, face mask and hand hygiene recommendations.

To support contact tracing, ECEC services need to keep a record of the name, phone number, date and time of visitors who attend their service for more than 15 minutes. Electronic record keeping is strongly encouraged. The Victorian Government has developed a QR Code Service which is free to use and can assist with record keeping requirements.

Incursions may also occur, subject to physical distancing between adults.

Singing and music

Music activities including indoor group singing and wind instrument use can resume with health and safety measures in place in line with DH advice.

ECEC service event on site

On-site events such as annual general meetings (AGMs) are now permitted.

Fixed gathering limits no longer apply. However, overall attendance numbers at events must be based on density limit of one person per two square metres applies also for staff and visitors/parents.

Enrolled children who may be engaged in a performance, ceremony or learning do not need to be counted in the density limit.

Orientation and transition

There are no restrictions on group sizes, but physical distancing of 1.5 metres must be maintained between adult visitors and staff where possible.

Victorian travel permit system

A Victorian travel permit system is now 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.

COVIDSafe behaviours: key actions for ECEC services

    • Stay home and get tested if experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, however mild.
    • Regular hand hygiene.
    • 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 on public transport (including private chartered transport for excursions), in taxis or ride share vehicles, and when going to shopping centres, indoor markets and some large retail stores such as supermarkets and department stores.
    • Record the name, phone number, date and time of visitors who attend a service for more than 15 minutes. The Victorian Government has developed a QR Code Service which is free to use and can assist with record keeping requirements.

    • Physical distancing of 1.5m between adults in all settings.
    • It's recommended that a face mask is worn when physical distancing of 1.5m cannot be maintained from other people.
    • Sharing food (for example, celebration cakes) is not recommended. Where this occurs, individual portions should be encouraged alongside strict hand hygiene.

Create COVIDSafe spaces: key actions for ECEC services

    • Ensure high touch surfaces are cleaned and disinfected twice daily
    • Staff areas (for example, lunchrooms, reception areas). Density limit of one person per two square metres
    • Enhanced ventilation (where possible). Further advice to assist with managing ventilation is available from the Department of Health.

Promote COVIDSafe activities: key actions for ECEC services

    • Visitors including parent volunteers, professional development providers, coaches and mentors with physical distancing of 1.5m between adults. Visitor density limits of one person per two square metres should be applied to any spaces being accessed by visitors. Electronic records should be kept of any visitors present for longer than 15 minutes.
    • Specialist or allied health, health professionals, service management and authorised officers
    • Incursions
    • Photos
    • Service tours with physical distancing of 1.5m between adults. There are no restrictions on group size. Density limits for tour groups of one person per two square metres apply to areas accessed by children, parent/carer(s) or staff involved in service tours.
    • Orientation with physical distancing of 1.5m between adults. There are no restrictions on group size. Density limits for tour groups of one person per two square metres apply to areas accessed by children, parent/carer(s) or staff involved in service tours.
    • Excursions.  Face masks are mandatory for individuals 12 years and above when travelling on public transport (including private chartered transport for excursions). Face masks are recommended when physical distancing of 1.5m from others cannot be maintained, unless they have a lawful reason not to.
    • Singing, wind instruments. Music activities including group singing and wind instrument use can resume with health and safety measures in place in line with DoH advice contained in COVID-19 transmission from air-circulating, wind-blowing devices and activities.
    • Structured Workplace Learning (VCE, VCAL and VET students, including SBATs) and Pre-Placement Teachers, including Initial Teacher Education (ITE) and Vocational Education Training (VET).
      • The impact of COVID-19 on preservice teachers was extensive throughout 2020. It particularly affected final year preservice teachers (PSTs), as final year placements completions were delayed, as well as the pipeline of non-final year students seeking to undertake placements. We encourage early childhood services to resume taking PSTs. Victoria’s future early childhood teaching workforce is dependent on the timely graduation and registration of current early childhood PSTs, thereby supporting the sustainability of every early childhood service.
  • Professional development and staff meetings (face-to-face).

    • There are no restrictions on group size, but face masks are recommended when 1.5m physical distance from others cannot be maintained
    • Face-to-face professional development and staff meetings can restart. The density limit of one person per two square metres must apply to spaces used by staff for these activities and electronic records of staff who attend for more than 15 minutes should be kept. Virtual alternatives should continue to be considered where appropriate and practical
    • Private and/or community group facility hire (for example, hire of facility for fee).

    Hiring organisation must follow DH advice for community facilities including application of density limit of one person per two square metres (or one person per four square metres if electronic record keeping is not used).

    • Work experience

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

    • Record keeping. To support contact tracing, ECEC services need to keep a record of the name, phone number, date and time of visitors who attend their service for more than 15 minutes. Electronic record keeping is strongly encouraged. Further advice is available on: Record keeping for contract tracing - information for business
    • Maintain adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) supply

Reviewed 02 March 2021

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