The Learning Sanctuary

Update for Vic families: What the new restrictions mean for your centre

On Sunday 2 August, the Victorian Government announced metropolitan Melbourne will move to Stage 4 restrictions and regional and rural Victoria will move to Stage 3 restrictions. 

From Thursday 6 August, these requirements will also apply to the Victorian Early Childhood Education and Care sector until at least Sunday 13 September.  

We understand that these new arrangements will contribute to further disruption and dislocation for our families and the communities we are a part of, and we do not take these impacts lightly. We are here to support your family, and we will continue to ensure that you are informed of the latest information and updates as they come to hand.   

Below is the latest information available for families. 

 

Metropolitan Melbourne 

G8 Education centres within metropolitan Melbourne will remain fully open to all families until midnight on Wednesday 5 August 2020, when Stage 4 restrictions come into effect. From Thursday 6 August, centres in Metropolitan Melbourne will remain open only for vulnerable children and children whose parents are permitted workers.  

 

What is a permitted worker? 

 

What if my child cannot attend care because of the restrictions or a COVID-19 reason 

From Thursday 6 August, all centres in Victoria will waive parent gap fees if a child does not attend care due to a COVID-19 reason, and your family will not pay any out-of-pocket expenses if your child is unable to attend care as a result of the Stage 4 restrictions which have been put in place. 

If you maintain your existing bookings your child’s enrolment will be held during this time, whereas ceasing care could potentially see your child waitlisted if you wish to return following the restrictions lifting.   

doctor’s certificate or documentation is not required for COVID-related absences, and there is no cap on additional absences for COVID-19 related reasons until 31 December 2020. 

 

What support is available if my child is learning from home?  

If your child cannot currently attend their centre, your centre will engage with you to support your child’s learning from home. 

For further support, check out our At-Home Learning Series. The series has a range of educational activities designed for you and your child to have fun together using items you probably have in your home. 

   

Regional and rural Victoria 

The Victorian Chief Health Officer has advised that early childhood education and care centres in regional and rural Victoria remain safe places for team members and children. That means our centres in regional and rural Victoria under Stage 3 restrictions will continue to operate, in line with our Covid-19 Health and Safety Management Plan.
 

What if I choose not to send my child to the centre due to COVID-19?  

Victorian centres will waive parent gap fees if a child does not attend care due to a COVID-19 reason. While you will still pay your normal gap fee on the days that your child attends their centre, you will not pay any out-of-pocket expenses should you choose to keep your child at home during Stage 3 restrictions for COVID-19 related reasons. 

The fee waiver means your child’s enrolment will be held during this time, whereas ceasing care could potentially see your child waitlisted if you wish to return to the centre after the restrictions are lifted.  

No doctor’s certificate or documentation is required for COVID-related absences, and there is no cap on additional absences for COVID-19 related reasons.  

 

How we’re keeping children safe 

 All Victorian centres continue to undertake safety measures to reduce the risk of infection. All families must practice physical distancing while in our centres. If you, or your child, are feeling unwell, do not attend your centre. Please ensure you notify your centre if you intend to keep your child at home. 

G8 Education is also extending the following actions, consistent with the advice of the Victorian Department of Education and Training, to all centres in Victoria effective today, Monday 3 August: 

  • Families and visitors to any of our centres in Victoria are required to wear a facecovering at all times while within the centre, including drop off and pick up of children;  
  • Team members are required to wear a facecovering when conducting health and wellness monitoring on children upon arrival, and at all other times they are not working directly with children while within the centre. 

 

Support for domestic violence & abuse 

COVID-19 is an unprecedented situation that may be causing extra stress for many families, with many spending more time in the home. In some circumstances, this can unfortunately result in an increase in domestic violence incidents and abuse in the home.   

If you, or someone you know, needs help, please contact the following helplines, who can assist in getting you in touch with helpful resources and additional support.  

1800RESPECT – 1800 737 732 

24hour national sexual assault, family and domestic violence counselling line for any Australian who has experienced, or is at risk of, family and domestic violence and/or sexual assault. 

Lifeline – 13 11 14 

Lifeline has a national number who can help put you in contact with a crisis service in your State. Anyone across Australia experiencing a personal crisis or thinking about suicide can call. 

 

We appreciate the co-operation of all families. If you have any further questions about the above information, please speak to your Centre Manager, and check out our Community Cubby for more resources to enjoy with your family at home.