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COVID-19 frequently asked questions

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​​​​​Early childhood education and care is crucial to continuing the education of our children, and to enable Queenslanders to continue to work and support the broader community.​

Note: The information contained in this page is current as at date of publication.​

Visit the Queensland Health ​website  for up-to-date COVID information including all lockdowns, restrictions, maps of affected areas and frequently asked questions. ​​

Advice for staff

​Are early childhood education and care services open in locked down areas?

​Early childhood education and care will remain open for children of essential workers and vulnerable children only. See latest Restrictions for locked down areas.​

Do teachers and childcare ​workers attend work if they live within locked down areas?

​Yes. While there is a current restriction requiring people to travel no more than 10km from their homes, this does not apply to staff travelling to their early childhood services, as staff are essential workers. See latest Restrictions for locked down areas.​

Do teachers and childcare workers have to wear a mask?

​If you are in a locked down area - Teachers and staff in schools, and educators and staff in child care centres, must wear a mask at all times, including face-to-face learning, except when communicating with those who are deaf or hard of hearing, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.​

Please check the current Queensland Government COVID-19 website as this advice can change.

Advice for parents and carers

Are all early childhood education and care services open?

Most early childhood and outside school hours care services are open. A small number of servic​es may need to temporarily close at their discretion or on advice from Queensland Health.

Please note: restrictions to access may apply for those in locked down areas. Continue to check the Queensland Health website​ for the latest advice.

While we strongly encourage you to contact your service directly, the early childhood services closures website also provides information about service closures.

The department compiles the list from closure notifications that it receives from approved providers of kindergarten, long day care and outside school hours care services. Parents and carers using family day care are encouraged to contact their child's educator for details regarding closures.​​

Can I send my child to early childhood education and care services?

Early childhood education and care services continue to operate across Queensland unless advised otherwise by health authorities, or directions apply for any locked down areas.

Please refer to the Department of Education, Skills and Employment website or contact your service for further information.​

Can I take my child to a childcare facility if live in a locked down area?

You can leave your home to attend a childcare facility, however early childhood education and care remains open only for children of essential workers or vulnerable children. See latest Restrictions for locked down areas.​

What is an essential worker in locked down areas?

Please refer to the current Queensland Health Restrictions for Locked Down Areas (South-East Queensland) Direction (No. 2). See details under the heading Schedule 1 – Definitions.

Can my child attend family day care?

Family day care continues to operate unless advised otherwise by health authorities, or directions apply for any locked down areas.

Are long day care services that offer a kindergarten program continuing to offer the program?

Yes. Long day care services that already offer a kindergarten program will continue to deliver an education program to children who attend the service. Please note, restrictions to access may apply for those in locked down area.

​Can my child physically attend community kindergarten?

All children who are enrolled in a community kindergarten can physically attend unless you live in locked down area where restrictions may apply. See latest Restrictions for locked down areas.​

Children of essential workers or vulnerable children can attend sessional kindergartens when in lockdown. Sessional kindergartens in impacted areas may deliver remote learning.

How is my sessional kindergarten delivering remote learning during a lockdown?

​​​Sessional kindergartens are considered essential services and, as we have always done, staff in a locked-down area – or whose sessional kindergarten is in a locked-down area – are still expected to attend their sessional kindergarten, unless they have been identified as vulnerable.

Remote learning will be based on sessional kindergarten and community needs, and may include a mix of online and hard copy resources. Central Governing Bodies will communicate with their sessional kindergarten communities about their remote learning approach and will contact families directly. Children of essential workers or vulnerable children can attend sessional kindergartens when in lockdown. 

Is it safe for my child to attend early childhood services?

All early childhood services are required to have a COVID Safe management plan in place detailing how families and staff will stay COVID safe.

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) advised on 3 April 2020 that early childhood education and care services are essential services, and should continue to operate with appropriate risk mitigation strategies.

Read the AHPPC statement for its recommendations to services for safe operation.

On 25 May, AHPPC clarified that the ‘venue density rule’ of no more than 1 person per 4 square metres is not appropriate or practical in services, nor is maintaining 1.5m between children. AHPPC advises adults to continue to undertake physical distancing when interacting with other adults, in areas such as staff rooms and when picking up or dropping off children. Read more about the clarification to physical distancing in the AHPPC Statement of 25 May 2020.

In accordance with the previous statement, AHPPC recommends that unwell staff, children and visitors do not attend. Children, staff and parents should use appropriate hand and respiratory hygiene and centres should use an enhanced cleaning regimen. For the latest advice, visit the Australian Government's guide for protecting others and stopping the spread of COVID-19.

Are outside school hours care (OSHC) services open?

OSHC services continue to operate before and after school care where there is demand. This includes on-site OSHC or other services off site that cater for school age children, such as long day care or family day care. Parents are encouraged to contact their local OSHC provider to confirm arrangements.

​Can my child still attend outside school hours care (OSHC) if I live in a locked down area?

​Childre​n can attend outside school care (OSCH) care if you are an essential worker or the student needs to attend because of vulnerable circumstances.

Does my child need to wear a mask if they attend outside school hours care (OSHC) during lockdown?

Children over 12 years of age must wear a face mask when on school premises or when travelling on dedicated school transport, whilst restricted in locked down areas. There are some exceptions to wearing face masks. See latest Restrictions for locked down areas.

Are parents able to go on to school grounds to drop off and pick up their children from OSHC?

Parents should ask their OSHC service about how they should drop off and pick up their children. Mask wearing restrictions may apply to those in locked down areas. There are some exceptions to wearing face masks.

In state school settings, physical distancing protocols continue to apply to all adults. Schools are limiting the number of non-essential adults entering school sites and the amount of adult to adult contact in and around schools. This may mean different arrangements for drop-off and pick-up, including for the OSHC service.

Individual schools and OSHC services will make the appropriate arrangements for their community. Parents can help by not gathering inside or outside schools and adopting new ways of interacting with others in and around the school.

How can I help my child settle in to kindy, childcare or an OSHC service?

Many children will find it hard returning to early childhood education and care after a long absence. The StartingBlocks website has the following suggestions on how you can settle in your child:

  • if possible, start with shorter or fewer days then gradually increase time spent at the service
  • find a preferred staff member or child you can leave your little one with at drop off time
  • spend some time with your child doing their favourite activity before you leave
  • talk to educators about what comforts your child and discuss how you manage activities or times of the day they find unsettling. For example, does your child have a toy or blanket that helps them to settle?
  • show your child you feel secure about leaving them at the service and that you trust the staff. Say ‘goodbye’ confidently, and reassure them that you will be back later. While it may be tempting to leave while they are engaged happily in play, it can be distressing for your child to realise you have left without saying goodbye
  • you should feel that you can contact the service at any time to check how your child is settling. The staff should provide you with sensitive, honest feedback.

How can I support my child’s learning and development when we are at home?

We know keeping your child engaged in learning is important to you. You can download a range of resources and ideas from our earlylearning@home page to help you with fun learning experiences for your child.

Where can I get more information on the impacts of COVID-19 on early childhood services?

For any early childhood education and care COVID-19 related enquiries, please phone 1800 454 639 or email ECEC.COVID19@qed.qld.gov.au.


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Last updated 03 August 2021