In response to the current pandemic situation, the Australian government has declared that childcare and early learning centres will be free for all families who need it.
That means if you’re currently enrolled with us, you can rest assured that early learning services will continue for your child (at no cost to you). For parents who find themselves needing childcare, our doors are open to you too.
As the Coronavirus information changes by the day, we understand that things can get a little confusing. Here are the answers to 7 of the most frequently asked questions we’ve been getting from parents. We hope it helps.
1. How does the ‘free’ childcare policy work and who is entitled to it?
The Australian government’s free childcare policy will start from 6 April 2020 and the changes are expected to remain until 28 June 2020 after which the plan may be extended for another three months. Free childcare is available to any family whose children are enrolled in an approved childcare service. This includes essential workers but also anyone who currently has a job. With this new plan, parents will no longer be required to pay the gap fee from 6 April – whether they send their children to the centre or not – making childcare essentially free. For more details, please refer to the Australian Parliament response.
2. What steps is Red Apple taking in relation to Coronavirus?
We have been following all the Australian government guidelines in relation to keeping our children, families and staff safe. This includes:
- Increasing the cleaning of all high touch surfaces such as toys, bedding and play equipment
- Looking out for flu symptoms, and asking children who are unwell to stay home
- Educating the children and making sure they follow good hygiene practices
- Limiting outside exposure – all excursions have been cancelled and replaced with quality on-site activities
We have a comprehensive COVID-19 management policy that guides the practices in both our centres. If you have any questions about it, please do not hesitate to contact your centre manager.
3. Will I be notified if there is a diagnosed case of COVID-19 at the centre?
4. What can we do to protect our children from the virus?
The best way to protect yourself and your family from the virus is to maintain good hygiene practices. We are continuously reinforcing these guidelines with our children and educators. To stay up to date with the latest Coronavirus info, please visit the Australian Department of Health website.
5. Should I keep my child home from childcare if they are healthy?
The medical advice remains that it is safe to send your child to childcare. Children who develop COVID-19 have very mild symptoms and very little transmission appears to occur between children. The danger might be more that your child may pass it to an elderly or vulnerable person like grandma or grandpa.
If your child has come into contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 – and are not displaying any symptoms – you must still keep them at home and isolate them for 14 days.
If your child is healthy and not at risk of spreading the virus but you choose to keep them at home, that is fine too. Based on the free childcare policy currently in place, it will not cost you anything to keep your child enrolled. You will also be able to hold your child’s spot at the centre until things normalise.
6. If I have cancelled my child’s enrolment at the centre, should I re-enrol?
Yes. The government is encouraging families who have terminated their enrolment since 17 February to get back in touch with the centre. Even if you would like to keep your child home, restarting your enrolment will enable you to keep your spot at the centre for when you return.
7. Where can I access Coronavirus information in other languages?
There is a lot of Coronavirus information (and misinformation) out there. The best place to access reliable Coronavirus information is on the Australian government website. The Coronavirus resources there are available in Mandarin and other languages.