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Coronavirus (COVID-19) – updates and information

Children First would like to acknowledge the significant impact the coronavirus (COVID-19) is having on our children, families, employees, communities and individuals. Our thoughts go out to those who have been directly impacted by this crisis.

At Children First, the health and safety of our clients, families and employees are our most important priority. We also recognise the importance of being open for business to support our family’s needs, and we are currently recognised as an essential service with expert medical advice to remain open.

Given the rapidly changing nature of COVID-19 in Australia, we continue to monitor the situation closely and provide you with updates on this page if circumstances change.

Steps we are taking

The health of our children, families and employees is what’s most important. We are taking extra measures in prioritising the health and wellbeing of children, families and employees to allow us to continue to operate in a safe way. The following protocols are being implemented and followed:

  • Having hand sanitiser available at all reception areas with the requirement for all persons entering the centres to use them upon entry and exit.
  • All common areas are frequently and thoroughly cleaned with special attention to high touch-point areas, such as door handles, switches, counters etc.
  • All toys, equipment and resources are frequently and thoroughly cleaned.
  • Resources or equipment that cannot be cleaned effectively will not be used during this time, such as playdough.
  • All employees are regularly and thoroughly cleaning hands following the recommended hand washing protocol (at least 20 seconds with soap and water and/or sanitiser).
  • All planned events have been cancelled (Harmony Day & Easter Celebrations).
  • All children’s rooms are well-ventilated, and children are encouraged to play outside as much as possible.
  • Ensuring that we are complying with all instructions from relevant NSW & Commonwealth Health agencies.

What you can do

The Department of Health has advised that people should practice good hygiene to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We recommend that:

  • You and your child wash your hands regularly and thoroughly.
  • Sneeze into your elbow or a tissue, disposing of the tissue straight away and then washing your hands.
  • You keep your child at home if they are unwell or show symptoms of illness.
  • You and your child stay at home if you have travelled internationally recently, in line with the mandatory 14-day self-isolation period that is now in place.

If you or your child is diagnosed with the COVID-19, please notify your centre manager immediately. This will allow us to implement the appropriate strategies to notify other families, services and the public health unit.

Child Care Subsidy (CCS)

There are new allowances for absences under Child Care Subsidy (CCS) to help families with the cost of childcare under current circumstances:

  • An increase of the number of days that a family can continue to claim the CCS in cases where a child is absent from childcare for more than the currently allowable 42 days.
  • Families are allowed access to additional absences, without the need for evidence, in relation to COVID-19.

What happens if there is a mandated closure

In the case of a mandated closure, there will be amendments under the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) to help families with the cost of childcare and provide support for childcare centres to remain viable during enforced COVID-19 closures.

The amendments allow the Minister of Education to:

  • Waive the current obligation of childcare services to require a family to pay gap fees if the service is forced to close.
  • Childcare services will continue to be paid the Child Care Subsidy, which can be up to 85 per cent of the daily cost of a child’s care, if they are directed to temporarily close, because of COVID-19.

Withdrawing your child

If for any reason you would like to withdraw your child from our centres, kindly note that:

  • You will need to provide two weeks’ notice
  • Fees will still be payable during the notice period
  • We are unable to hold positions and will not be able to guarantee you the same positions should you wish to re-enrol in the future.

Questions

Our centre managers are ready to answer any questions you may have during this period.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or queries.

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Children First acknowledges the traditional custodians and their continued connections to Country and culture throughout Australia.
We pay our respect to these diverse communities and to Elders both past and present.

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