Navigating our new COVID-19 normal at Beach Kids Early Learning & Preschool and our plan

As New South Wales, and Australia as a whole, take precautionary steps to open to the world again after a challenging two years, Beach Kids Early Learning & Preschool is taking proactive steps to ensure our children and our early childhood educators & teachers are as safe as possible as we navigate this new normal.

We want our families and our educators to rest easy that their health and safety are of the utmost importance to us, and we respect that our families and staff will have questions, especially as we see visitors return to our region. We would like to address your questions about how we navigate these next steps.

We have a detailed COVID-safe action plan that is continually reviewed as directed and advised by NSW Government, Department of Health in the event a positive case is detected.

Are staff vaccinated?

Yes, 100% of our staff are double vaccinated in line with NSW Public Health Orders and Restrictions requiring all Education and Care workers receive both doses of COIVD-19 vaccine by 8th November 2021. We encouraged our team to be vaccinated to protect themselves, their co-workers, their families, and the children in our care and early learning who are unable to receive the vaccine. We are grateful and proud of our team who made this decision without us losing any team members

How do you minimize risk?

We’re now in the process of installing a high-quality air purifier, in line with our COVID-19 action plan and our commitment to the safety and well-being of all of our teams and children. Research published in The Journal of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology says the efficacy of portable air purifiers using HEPA filtration helped increase the clearance of aerosols. True HEPA filters remove 99.97% of ultra-fine dust and inhibit the spread of captured bacteria. This will be placed in our reception area to assist in filtering air from external people entering the campus. In the event of illness or outbreak, these purifiers will be moved to the classroom affected.

During periods of outbreaks and suspected COVID-19 in the community, we limit the number of external visitors to our campuses. We offer a foyer or car park drop-off and pick-up to prevent illness and outbreaks in the service and keep our children and educators safe.

What are the requirements for deliveries/tradespeople?

Typically, any deliveries are dropped to the foyer/ front entrance as we are limiting the number of external people into our campus. Trades and maintenance people are all required to attend out of hours. During periods of high risk or outbreaks, it is a requirement that external visitors are limited and if required to attend, must wear a mask.

What are the deciding factors to turn a child away due to illness?

Staff and children should not attend if unwell and we take illness very seriously. Of course, the way that children interact with each other means that illnesses can quickly spread in a variety of ways. Children have close contact with other people through playing or cuddling, putting items in their mouths, and not covering faces when sneezing or coughing.

Our staff is trained to recognise signs of illness, but it’s a shared responsibility with our families to update each other if an illness is detected. Whilst we are more alert to illnesses in children, we are seeing less illness currently and parents are being much more diligent with keeping children home if they are unwell which is a huge help in keeping our community well.

Do children learn about hygiene at Beach Kids Early Learning & Preschool?

This has been an integral part of our learning program, including maintaining health and good hygiene habits, learning about viruses and disease, and what COVID-19 actually is. We have needed to use real-life language and be frank with children as they try to understand the fear and uncertainty in the community, learning to communicate through masks and understanding the changes to “normal life” and how to process these changes.

What happens if there is a positive case?

Here are the main steps we take in the event of a positive case.

  • Immediately, we notify the Department of Health and follow their recommendations moving forward
  • Notify all affected, including families, staff, and potential visitors. We will keep them updated daily on the potential room or centre closures, quarantine protocols and deep cleaning steps taken
  • Assist in identifying and notifying close contacts and support staff to be tested. We are also required to confirm vaccination status for staff primary close contacts, of course, children are unvaccinated
  • Notify Work Safe and update our risk assessments on actions taken following a positive case
  • Arrange a deep clean following the guidelines set out by the Department of Health and Human Services. Our campus has regular professional cleaners come in to perform regular hygienic cleans, in the case of an outbreak or suspected case in the community, we engage The Usher Group who perform a deep clean in the campus out of hours to ensure that the campus is safe and ready for children and educators. This deep clean process includes a comprehensive commercial sanitisation process
  • Maintain contact with all staff and families as we progress toward reopening.

If you have any questions that weren’t answered here, please contact your campus manager and Linda will provide those answers or find the required information for you.