Important Covid-19 Information

Dear Families,

Over the past week, we provided you with updates on our services at Joey’s House, St Agnes’ Early Education Centre (SAEEC) and St Joseph’s Preschool and Long Day Care Centre (SJPLDC) that have been COVID-19 affected.

With COVID-19 so prevalent in our community at present it is likely that our services will continue to be affected. Whenever we are notified of a positive COVID-19 case in our staff or children, we activate our COVID-19 management plan to determine the possible spread and inform those that could be potentially close contacts. The area affected undergoes cleaning and then we decide on re-opening that part of our service. A key reason why we may not re-open is to do with staffing. Maintaining staff-to-children ratios and supervision of the children is our biggest challenge and any decision we make is to ensure the care and protection of your children.

This week it has meant we have had to close a room at SAEEC and, depending on next couple of days, it could mean we have to look at closing a larger section of one, or parts, of our services. Please be alert for any communication from us that may apply to services provided to your family.

I am optimistic regarding the NSW Government announcement for the supply of Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) for the testing of staff twice per week. This will be an important part of our testing and early detection regime.

Thank you for your understanding and support at this time and we will continue to keep you up to date through these messages or via phone calls. If you have any questions, you can contact us via 6583 6464 or [email protected].

Regards,

Wendy Ward

Early Education Manager

Dear Families,

This morning we were informed of a positive PCR COVID-19 case in our community at St Agnes Early Education Centre.

This positive test was returned on Sunday morning so in accordance with NSW Dept of Education guidelines we are informing all families who were at the centre on Friday of potential contact. For those families in the Explorers room you may decide to self-isolate for 7 days as per the NSW Health guidelines Information for people exposed to COVID-19 | NSW Government

As you may be aware from our previous communications, we have COVID policies and procedures in place. This includes professional cleans as per Department of Health guidelines of the Centre since the confirmed case has been in attendance.

We are working through some staffing shortage issues currently. Maintaining ratios and supervision of the children is our greatest concern and at this point several staff are absent due to COVID. If we can find no replacements, we may be required to close a room or potentially the whole service. It will be our priority to reduce any inconvenience to the least number of families.

As our most vulnerable age group, we are closing the Foundation room for Monday/Tuesday. We will inform you as soon as possible of any changes into the future. We will also be consulting the Commonwealth government regarding gaining permission to waive the gap fees for those families impacted by the room closure. We acknowledge this is very difficult for families and appreciate your understanding as COVID impacts all areas of our community.

Please be extra vigilant in monitoring your child’s health and keep them at home if they are displaying any COVID-19 symptoms, such as a sore throat, diarrhoea, runny nose or cough. Also please maintain the practices that we know reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission (i.e. face masks, hand hygiene, physical distancing).

Thank you for continuing to observe our new outside drop off/pick up arrangements across all our centres. This is an important process that will help with the reduction of COVID-19 positive cases entering our centres.

It is only through working together can we minimise the spread of COVID-19 throughout our services to protect our children, our families, and our staff. If you are unsure about anything, do not hesitate to ask the Centre Manager Melissah Leigh , [email protected] or phone on 65834491.

Your continued support is valued and much appreciated.

Regards,

Wendy Ward

Early Education Manager

19 January 2022

Dear families,

RE: FURTHER INFORMATION REGARDING POSITIVE COVID-19 CASE AT JOEY’S HOUSE

Further to my message this morning informing you of a positive COVID-19 case in our community, I would like to update you on our course of action since then.

The case was a staff member who had worked in Joey’s House earlier in the week. As soon as we were notified of this positive result, we actioned our COVID-19 Management Plan, which has included Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) of all staff prior to commencement of their shift today. This resulted in no other positive cases being confirmed. The potential locations of infection have been cleaned and Joey’s House will continue to operate as usual.

Given the prevalence of COVID-19 in our community, we ask for your continued support in monitoring your child/children for even the mildest COVID-19 symptoms, such as a sore throat, diarrhoea, runny nose or cough and keeping them at home if these symptoms are presented.

Please be aware that since last week we have had new drop off/pick up arrangements that do not require families to enter our centres.

I understand you may be concerned about this information and its impact on your family, however pleased be reassured that the health, safety and wellbeing of your children, your families and our staff are our highest priority. We are fortunate to have the added benefit of being able to draw on the extensive expertise from across St Agnes’ Catholic Parish regarding COVID-19 management and will continue to do so to ensure we deliver safe and quality education to your child/children.

Thank you for your support and understanding during this time.

Regards,

Wendy Ward
Executive Manager Early Education

19 January 2022

Dear Families

 

RISK OF COVID-19

A member of our early childhood education and care community has tested positive to COVID-19. Your child has been identified as a person at risk of COVID-19 due to your attendance and potential contact with a confirmed case.

While testing and isolation is no longer mandatory for exposures in ECE services, NSW Health has provided testing and isolation recommendations that should be considered when making decisions for your child and family.

A fact sheet from NSW Health with information for families is attached.

You are reminded that children cannot attend ECE services if they are showing any symptoms of COVID-19. These include fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, loss of smell/taste, muscle/joint pains, diarrhoea, nausea/vomiting, extreme tiredness, unexplained chest pain or conjunctivitis (eye infection).

If symptoms occur at any time, you should not attend our service and undertake a rapid antigen test. If a rapid antigen test is positive you/your child should isolate as someone who has tested positive to COVID-19. If you cannot access a rapid antigen test, you can attend a PCR (nose and throat swab) testing clinic.

Seek medical assistance if severe symptoms develop (particularly severe dizziness, drowsy or confused, suffering shortness of breath, chest pressure or pain lasting more than 10 minutes, unable to stand) you should call Triple Zero (000) straight away and tell the ambulance staff that you/your child have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Advice and further resources are available on the NSW Health website including COVID-19 guidelines and fact sheets for People who tested positive or were exposed to COVID-19. Additional resources are also available on the NSW Government website.

Yours sincerely

Wendy Ward
Executive Manager
St Joseph’s Family Services

11 January 2022

Good morning all,

JANUARY ADVICE #1: Returning to our centres after the holiday break

Welcome back! I hope you were all able to enjoy a restful holiday break.

As our government encourages us to learn to live with COVID, and in light of the increasing incidence of COVID in our local community, it is timely to provide you with an update on how we can work together to reduce the risk of COVID exposures in our Early Childhood Education Centres.

We are monitoring the situation closely, staying abreast of government and health advice, and continually adapting our systems so we are ready to respond quickly to reports of any exposure (be it a staff member, parent/carer or child). The success of us being able to do this depends on each of us sharing the responsibility for doing what we can to manage these risks.

From a staff perspective, all staff will wear face masks indoors and wash or sanitise hands regularly throughout the day in all our centres. We also have strict protocols in place for staff to follow if they are unwell, are a close contact or test positive to COVID.

Please also note that we too are struggling with supply chain issues and our food services may be under threat as well, however we will work around any issues as much as possible and keep you informed of any changes.

Here’s how you as a parent/carer can play your part in helping us keep children and staff safe at our centres:

  • provide us with early information about any exposure you’ve had (close contact or with positive cases) that may increase your COVID risk (and ours)
  • Do not attend our services if you are unwell or have any signs or symptoms of COVID (no matter how small) – this is a key source of transmission which can be avoided
  • keep children who are unwell at home – the Commonwealth Government, through CCS, has offered extra allowable absences to cover staying away if unwell at this stage
  • Continue to QR code on to the site
  • Wear a mask, and hand sanitise on entry
  • Please drop off and pick up your child from the front door as unfortunately, due to Dept of Education recommendations, we need to limit the exposure of others to a minimum
  • Keep the drop off and pick-ups short, where possible
  • Arrange an appointment if you need to speak with an Educator for longer than a few minutes so that a room that allows physical spacing can be organised.

In the event of a positive case, all these things will be of great help in our risk management processes and may help us minimise the disruption to the children’s routines.

If anyone in your immediate family tests positive for COVID please let us know as soon as possible.

Always follow NSW Health advice. The following NSW Health fact sheets may be helpful, depending on your situation:

What happens if there is a positive case in one of our services?

NSW Health will notify the service if there is a positive COVID-19 case who has been infectious while attending any of our services and they will in turn notify parents and carers. Privacy laws mean we are not able to provide information about the person concerned.

The service will implement a risk assessment of contacts in the 48 hours prior to the test result, and those individuals who are deemed high risk and moderate risk will be contacted and given information from NSW Health. The action taken in relation to the operation of the service will depend on how many people the person has been in contact with. In some cases, this may mean that the service may need to be made temporarily non-operational. Some staff and children may be asked to self-isolate as a precaution while contact tracing is undertaken.

If this occurs, we will share centre updates with you in our usual way. However, if there is something relating specifically to your child/children we will phone to speak with you personally.

Remember, if you are unwell, or if any adults in your household are unwell, please do not bring your children to our Early Childhood Education setting as you may be, unknowingly, spreading COVID to the service staff and to other children.

Together, we must all, conscientiously, maintain the practices we know to reduce the risk of COVID transmission (ie face masks, hand hygiene, physical spacing and vaccination) in our community.

Thanks for your support and understanding during this challenging time.

Kind Regards

Wendy Ward
Executive Manager Early Education

Offering innovative, inclusive and responsive early education

and care services and tailored family support activities to

the Port Macquarie Hastings community.