Last updated: 26.03.2020 at 11.45 am.

Aurora Early Education CEO Sheela Edwards addresses Families to reassure them about accessing childcare and talks about measures taken at the Aurora Early Education Centers during COVID-19 Crisis

As the Coronavirus is spreading across the world, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared a global pandemic. 

This page includes information and a collection of resources about the virus, and what we, as a community need to know and do. 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has created a training module to help you understand more about Covid-19. Please follow this link for the training. 

Early Education and Childcare

The Australian Government and Department of Health The Australian Government and the Department of Education have specifically requested that childcare centers remain open. There are several reasons for this:

  • Childcare and early education services provide support for working families. This is especially essential at present for parents who work in the healthcare sector. Childcare also allows parents who are working from home the time and flexibility they need to be productive.
  • In times of uncertainty and stress, continuity, routine and engaging with familiar people help children.
  • The Chief Health Officer of Australia, Professor Brendan Murphy, says it’s safer to have children together than at home with adults. This is because data has shown that children are less susceptible to Covid-19, but can pass it on to more vulnerable members of their families or community.
  • Childcare centers have strict hygiene practices and policies in place.

Aurora is always taking a proactive approach by: 

  • Sending families information about COVID-19 and about the protective measures Aurora has taken. 
  • Introducing a visitor sign in process to determine any possible risks. 
  • Reminding everyone who enters the center to follow hand hygiene and sanitize their hands. Aurora has created a dedicated hand santization station at each centre entrance for everyone entering to santize their hands.
  • Asking families to update information about any possible risks. 
  • STEM incursions with children to educate them
  • Creating awareness through our website.
  • Continuously reflecting on updated information and taking necessary stems towards prevention to mitigate possible risks including developing policies and procedures.
  • Referring to the Australian Government information for families and for early learning services. 
  • Aurora is committed to upholding our inclusive philosophy to create a calm and supportive environment through the mindfulness approach. 

We have also cancelled all excursions and extra curricular activities to reduce the amount of visitors Aurora receives. Our educators are conducting enriching activities and experiences to replace these incursions.

Information for families

We are continuously in touch with our families to provide them with support and advice. Some important advice is:

  • If you choose to keep your child home as a precautionary measure: the Child Care Subsidy can be paid for up to 62 days without any documentation required.  Additional absences (when allowable absences are exhausted) can be taken in relation to COVID-19 without evidence.
  • If you are suffering from financial hardship: Families who are suffering from financial hardship or temporary financial hardship may be able to receive Additional Child Care Subsidy. This may be temporary hardship related to Covid-19.  Families can apply through Centrelink; please do call our Centres with any questions. 
  • If your child is sick: if your child is unwell, please do not bring them into the centre. Symptoms of an unwell child may include a fever, a recurring cough, sneezing, lethargy, diarrhea and fatigue. Please call our centre mangers if you think your child may be unwell. 
  • Talking to children: at times like these, young children may feel anxious and insecure. It is important to have open, but reassuring conversations with them. Some excellent resources are Dr Michelle Dickinson’s Coronavirus Explained video  and UNICEF: Talking to Children About Covid-19. 

General Information

What is Covid-19? 

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). 

A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.   A novel coronavirus (Covid-19) that was first reported from Wuhan, China, on 31 December 2019. 

How is it spread? 

The coronavirus is most likely to spread from person-to-person through:

  • direct close contact with a person while they are infectious 
  • close contact with a person with a confirmed infection who coughs or sneezes, or
  • touching objects or surfaces (such as door handles or tables) contaminated from a cough or sneeze from a person with a confirmed infection, and then touching your mouth or face.

Most infections are only transmitted by people when they have symptoms.

What are the symptoms? 

  • Symptoms can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly. People with coronavirus may experience:
  • fever
  • flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat and fatigue
  • shortness of breath

Prevention 

Practice good hand hygiene 

It’s important to practice good hand hygiene in any circumstances, but is especially important now. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water. The following guidelines should be followed when washing hands: 

  1. Use liquid soap and running water. 
  2. Wash your hands thoroughly while counting from 1-10, ensuring that you are spreading the soap and water all over your hands and between your fingers. 
  3. Rinse your hands while counting from 1-10. 
  4. Turn off the tap using a paper towel. 
  5. Dry your hands on a new paper towel. 

You can also watch this video based on advice from the World Health Organisation.

When should hands be washed: 

  • On arrival at the centre 
  • Before handling food 
  • Before eating 
  • Before and after changing a nappy 
  • After removing gloves 
  • After going to the toilet 
  • After clearing up blood, faeces and vomit 
  • After wiping a nose
  • Before giving or taking medications 
  • After handling garbage 
  • After playing outside 
  • Before going home 

When it is not possible to wash your hands, use alcohol-based hand rub.

Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.

Maintain social distancing

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.

Practice respiratory hygiene

Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.

Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.

If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early.

Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infection.

Surgical masks in the community are only helpful in preventing people who have coronavirus disease from spreading it to others. If you are well, you do not need to wear a surgical mask as there is little evidence supporting the widespread use of surgical masks in healthy people to prevent transmission in public.

Travel Advisories 

In order to control the spread of Covid-19 in Australia, the Australian government is closely monitoring the outbreak and has been issuing regular travel advisories and guidelines.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has raised the level of advice for:

Australian citizens and permanent residents who have travelled to these countries may be required to self isolate upon arrival in Australia. People with other visas who have visited or transmitted through these countries may not be permitted to enter Australia. Please refer to the Australian Department of Health for more information. 

Isolation 

Anyone arriving in Australia from midnight 16.3.2020 will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

If you have travelled from mainland China, France, Germany, Spain, Japan, Iran, Republic of Korea or Italy, or been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus, additional restrictions may apply. Please refer to the isolation guidance from the Australian Department of Health. 

Talking to Children about Covid-19 

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by everything you’re hearing about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) right now. It’s also understandable if your children are feeling anxious, too. Children might find it difficult to understand what they are seeing online or on TV – or hearing from other people – so they can be particularly vulnerable to feelings of anxiety, stress and sadness. But having an open, supportive discussion with your children can help them understand, cope and even make a positive contribution for others.

Read more here. 

Additional Resources and Information 

Australian Department of Heath Coronavirus Information 

State Specific Public Health Legalization Information 

Australian Department of Health Isolation Guidance 

Australian Department of Health Isolation Guidance – Chinese

Australian Department of Heath Isolation Guidance – Korean

Australian Department of Heath Isolation Guidance – Italian

Australian Department of Heath Isolation Guidance – Farsi

Update from Prime Minister: Travel Advisory – Republic of Korea

Contact Details of local state and territory health departments

World Health Organisation Coronavirus Information 

Department of Education Coronavirus Information

Victorian Department of Health Services Coronavirus Advice

We also ask parents to refer to our internal centre policies to understand how to work with Aurora in maintaining hygiene and following prevention strategies.