YMCA Children's Programs is committed to keeping our children, families and staff as safe as possible during these challenging times.
Last updated: Wednesday 9 February 2022
Our Early Learning Centre's (ELC) and Outside of School Hours Care (OSHC) services are all open and are operating without any attendance restrictions.
We understand some families may feel concerned about face-to-face learning and care, due to the high number of COVID-19 cases currently in our community.
This page summarises our services COVID safe practices and the government support options currently available to families.
Our safety practices align with the Victorian Government’s Back-to-School and Early Childhood Education and Care Plan in both ELC and OSHC services.
We aim to keep our ELC and OSHC services open throughout the year to ensure families can continue accessing essential care and minimise learning disruption.
At times, our services may experience staff shortages if staff members are required to isolate. If this occurs at your service, we may need to temporarily reduce its operating hours. We will give you as much notice as possible and communicate any changes to your daily fees.
Rapid antigen testing (RATs) recommendation
The Victorian Government is currently recommending that children attending primary school and early childhood services undergo twice-a-week rapid testing during Term 1 2022.
This recommendation applies to:
- Children aged 3 to 5 attending early childhood services (including ELC’s),
- Children aged 5 to 12 attending primary school.
Our ELC’s will distribute the RATs directly to eligible families. Primary school children need to access their RATs directly though their school, our OSHC services will not be distributing them.
While this ‘surveillance testing program’ is voluntary, it is highly recommended by the Victorian Government and YMCA Victoria as it supports families, minimises transmission and helps keep early childhood education and care services open.
RATs are a quick testing option if your child has symptoms or is a close contact to a positive case. The Victorian Coronavirus website includes further advice on performing and interpreting a child’s rapid antigen test.
Please note that free RATs are not available for ELC children aged 0 to 2.
Third dose 'booster' vaccine for staff
The Victorian Government has added school and early childhood staff to the list of workers in key sectors who must receive a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Friday 25 February 2022 (if they are eligible).
We are currently supporting eligible ELC and OSHC staff to access a third vaccination.
The Chief Health Officer (CHO) has advised a third dose will help ensure continued protection for our education workforce and may help to mitigate against the risk of outbreaks in education settings.
Unlimited allowable absences
The Australian Government has implemented unlimited allowable absences throughout January and February 2022, in response to the Omicron COVID-19 wave.
That means families won’t have to use their 52 allowable absences for the 2021–22 financial year during this period. These absences will be automatically applied in the Child Care Subsidy System.
Daily COVID-safe practices
- Parents and carers must wear a mask at all times at drop-off and pick-up.
- If anyone in your family starts feeling unwell, or develops even the mildest of symptoms, they should get tested for COVID-19.
- Please inform your Centre Manager or OSHC Coordinator if your child tests positive and has attended our service within their infectious period.
- Individuals who return a positive RAT are required to notify the department via the online self-report form or via the COVID-19 Hotline on 1800 675 398.
There are a number of information and support channels available:
- Coronavirus hotline: If you are concerned, call the coronavirus hotline 1800 675 398 (24 Hours).
- Interpreting service: If you need an interpreter, call TIS National on 131 450.
- Translated resources: the Department of Health and Human Services website has a variety of COVID-19 translated information.
- SBS News: News and information about COVID-19 is available in 63 languages.
Contact us form
If you have any questions about the information on this page, complete the form below and our Customer Service Team will review your submission.
They will respond directly or connect you with a relevant stakeholder.