Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQ’s
In light of the evolving COVID-19 situation, we have put together some commonly asked questions from our families. We are continuing to monitor and adapt to government advice.
If you have any questions not listed here, please do contact your centre Director, they will be more than happy to help.
What is Coronavirus?
The COVID-19 novel coronavirus is a new strain of coronavirus affecting humans.
Some coronaviruses can cause an illness similar to the common cold and others can cause more serious diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
This novel coronavirus is still new and as such we are still learning more about it.
Symptoms reported in identified cases of COVID-19 novel coronavirus include:
- a cough
- sore throat
- shortness of breath
SOURCE (accessed 20/03/2020)
Q: Who does Coronavirus impact?
A: While there have been confirmed cases in children a majority of the cases globally are in adults.
Elderly people and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill.
There haven’t yet been comprehensive studies that show the effect of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on pregnant women and their babies. If you are pregnant, you should continue to take good care of your health, and just like everyone else, wash your hands and keep your distance from people who are coughing or sneezing, or who you know to be sick. Seek medical attention if you experience any signs of illness at any time during your pregnancy.
SOURCE accessed 20/03/2020
Q: Who do we take advice from?
A: The Australian Government. The Queensland Health Department and the Queensland Department of Education (Early Childhood Regulatory Authority) issue advice and guidelines for minimising the spread of COVID-19 as new information becomes available.
Q: What strategies are Sunrise Kids Early Education & Care putting in place in relation to Coronavirus?
A: Hygiene and good health of our children, families, staff and visitors to our Centres are one of our main priorities. In addition to our existing health and hygiene policies and procedures we have implemented the following until further notice:
- The use of our SMS service to communicate urgent matters to parents and carers as they arise.
- Removing group cooking activities from our programs.
- Avoid the use of playdough.
- Educators will serve all children’s meals, removing self-service by children.
- Staff members preparing Centre food are designated to this task only for the duration of meal preparation times.
- In addition to regular handwashing routines, educators are to ensure children wash their hands on arrival at the Centre and each time they transition from another room or from outdoors to indoors.
- Where possible limiting family grouping times including events traditionally involving parents e.g Easter bonnet parade.
- Where possible senior management is working remotely to assist in reducing any cross-contamination across Centres.
- Engaged external food suppliers to ensure currently imposed restrictions by supermarkets does not affect meal provisions.
Q: Will the centre remain open?
A: The Prime Minister stated in his press conference on 18 March 2020 that schools and child care services are an essential operation and will remain open as it is crucial to enable parents, including health care professionals, to continue to work and support the broader community. Child care remaining open reduces the reliance on alternative care arrangements such as grandparents or elderly relatives who are more vulnerable to becoming severely ill if contracting COVID-19.
Therefore, while safe to do so child care, teaching and learning will continue as planned.
Q: How can we protect ourselves and our children?
A: Practising good sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence against most viruses. You should:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the toilet.
- Cover your cough and sneeze, dispose of tissues, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
- If unwell, avoid contact with others (stay more than 1.5 meters from people).
While coronavirus is of concern, it is important to remember that most people displaying symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat or tiredness are likely suffering from a cold or other respiratory illness – not coronavirus.
SOURCE (Accessed 20/03/2020).
Q: What can our families do to assist?
A: We ask that families and visitors to our Centres assist us by doing the following:
- Use the hand sanitising stations located in the Centre foyer on arrival and departure.
- Implement social distancing of 1.5m whilst in our Centres.
- Practice good sneeze/cough hygiene. Cover your cough/sneeze and dispose of tissues.
- Notify us if your children are unwell. If your child is unwell, we ask that your child is kept home until they are feeling better or a medical clearance is obtained.
- Notify us if your child will be absent from the Centre.
- If you are unwell or people who drop off or collect your child is unwell, we ask that you avoid entering our Centres to ensure that cross-contamination is avoided.
- Notify us of any travel you or your family members have undertaken recently or plan to undertake in the coming months.
- Ensure your contact details and emergency contact details are up to date in case we need to contact you.
Q: If my child exhibits cold or flu symptoms will they be excluded from the Centre?
A: As per our Infectious Illness and Exclusion Policy, children displaying signs of illness will be excluded from care until well and medical clearance is provided. This is for the safety and wellbeing of our children, families and educators.
Q: What should I do if I think I have novel coronavirus?
A: See a doctor immediately if you have:
- travelled overseas in the past 14 days and are unwell with symptoms of novel coronavirus (COVID-19)
- had close contact with a confirmed case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Before your appointment, please call ahead and mention your symptoms and travel (or contact) history so they can prepare for your visit.
The COVID-19 coronavirus quiz has recommendations on what you should do depending on whether you are unwell, your travel history, and whether you have had contact with someone with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
SOURCE Accessed 20/03/2020.
Q: What if I am directed to self-isolate my family, do I still have to pay fees?
A: If you are directed by the Health department to self-isolate, then you can access our Holiday discount which provides a discounted rate on your fees. CCS will still be applied to your account and your child’s enrolment at the Centre will remain the same.
Q: If I choose to self-isolate my family do I still have to pay fees?
A: If you have chosen to self-isolate and not send your child to Care, Holiday Fees will be applied to your account and your place will remain available at the Centre. Please contact your Centre Director if you are choosing to self-isolate.
CCS can be applied to your account for up to 62 days absence in the 2019-2020 financial year, without the need for families to provide documentation. Once a child’s absences have been used, CCS can be paid for additional absences including illness where evidence (i.e. doctors certificate) has been provided.
Additional absences required for COVID-19 related reasons up until 31 December 2020 do not require medical evidence (e.g. Dr certificate) to be provided to the Centre.
Q: What happens if I want to cease my child’s enrolment?
A: If you are feeling uncertain around continuing care we encourage you to discuss this your Centre Director. It is our policy that 2 weeks’ notice is given prior to ceasing care. In order for Child Care Subsidy (CCS) to be applied to your account, your child needs to attend during this notice period, in particular the last day of care.
Q: What if my work arrangements have changed and I can no longer afford to pay fees?
A: If your working arrangements have changed please contact Centrelink. If your income has decreased, you may be entitled to a higher CCS percentage which may result in reduced fees. You may also be eligible for the Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS). This is in addition to CCS for families experiencing temporary financial hardship. Contact your Director for further information.
Q: Will I be notified if there are diagnosed cases of Coronavirus at my centre?
A: If an educator, child or parent is diagnosed with Coronavirus (COVID-19) we will implement our notification of illness procedures. This includes reporting the illness to the Health Department and following the advice they provide. Families will be notified immediately via email, SMS message and notification posted on the Centre entrance door. If we do have a confirmed case, it may be the Centre will closed for 2-3 days.
Q: What if the centre closes?
A: If the Centre closes for any reason, families will be provided with as much notice as possible and will be informed as to the reason and expected duration. Gap fees will not be charged for the days the Centre is closed.