COVID-19: Early childhood learning protocols must be put in place
Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Learning Jodie Harrison is calling for immediate and clear protocols for infection controls in early childhood learning centres, with today's announcement of a four-year-old having COVID-19 making the issue even more critical.
There are now three early childhood learning centres in NSW linked to transmission of COVID-19, following the revelation that the child announced today to be COVID-19 positive had attended a NSW childcare centre for two days during the infectious stage of the virus.
Early childhood teachers and educators have for weeks been calling on the State Government to put in place clear infection control protocols for early childhood learning centres across the state. Their calls for help have been ignored by this government.
“On March 26 and again on April 17, I wrote to the Minister for Early Childhood Learning Sarah Mitchell asking for her support to put in place additional protection measures to keep children, families and workers safe,” Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Learning Jodie Harrison said today.
“The Minister responded to say that she had launched a Facebook page for the Early Childhood Learning sector and a series of livestream events.
“The Early Childhood Learning sector does not need a Facebook page. What it needs is clear protocols for infection control as it continues to deliver critical support for essential workers during the pandemic.”
“Those working in the sector have expressed their frustration at a lack of support and guidance about how to implement social distancing and infection control measures within a preschool and long day care setting, where it is impossible to tell a toddler to stand 1.5m from others.
“We have all seen what this disease can do. We cannot afford to let one single case of COVID-19 slip through the cracks. The Government must take a precautionary approach and act now to protect the families and children who use early childhood learning services.”
Mark Northam, NSW/ACT Branch Secretary of the Independent Education Union of Australia, said: “The IEU has been seeking, as a matter of urgency, clear protocols for all early learning centres since the time of the outbreak of COVID-19. The situation at Cranebrook Bright Minds early learning centre demonstrates the need for an urgent a response. Teachers and early childhood workers need clear protocols for their daily work – it’s not a big ask. A good centre and workplace is a safe one.”