The Early Learning Centre and OHSC will continue to operate a normal program on-site, with Term 2 commencing on Wednesday 15 April. The direct advice from the Victorian State Government in relation to Early Learning is that childcare and Early Learning Centres are considered essential services.
The Federal Government’s advice is still unchanged in regards to early childhood services remaining open unless otherwise directed by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC). This is continuing to be reviewed on a daily basis.
The Government has introduced the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package which will come into effect from Monday 6 April 2020. This funding has been introduced by the Government to support essential workers to continue to remain in the workforce.
Under this funding package weekly payments will be made directly to early childhood education and care services in lieu of the Child Care Subsidy. As a condition of this funding, ELC fees will be covered by ELTHAM College for Term 2.
Families are not required to take any action, however we would advise families to continue to keep their child enrolled at the ELC despite if you choose to have them stay at home over the Term. This is also the advice given on the Australian Government’s Department of Education Skills and Employment website. It explains:
Providers should encourage families who have withdrawn from their service to re-enrol. By families staying enrolled, they will keep their CCS eligibility so the subsidies will flow again once the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package payments cease.
The Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package has been developed to assist such families and to respond to concerns from the vast majority of the child care sector that falling child care enrolments are threatening the viability of the sector. The Government expects that the reduction in enrolments is a result of families, who are not essential workers or who are able to make alternative arrangements, correctly observing the directives from the Commonwealth and state and territory governments to observe social distancing practices.
Whether a child is ill or not, including where a child does not attend care as part of the family’s own precautionary measure against potential contact with COVID-19, Child Care Subsidy (CCS) can be paid for up to 62 absence days per child, for the 2019–20 financial year, without the need for families to provide documentation.
Once a child’s 62 initial absences have been used, if more absences are required for COVID-19 related reasons, CCS can be paid for additional absences claimed without the need for medical evidence.
Absences will not be counted during the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package period (commencing 6 April 2020) as session reports will not be submitted.
As stage three restrictions have commenced in Victoria and the advice is to stay home where possible, the ELC team have been putting together a continuous learning resource specific to each class to support those families who will be keeping their children at home. We are also hoping to keep in contact with children through a video conferencing tool called Zoom. For more information about this tool please click the following link (zoom guide for parents and students – PDF version).
If you have any questions regarding this information please contact the Head of ELC Kathryn Barclay.