Preventing the spread of COVID-19 – update

Updated health advice to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in early childhood education settings.

15 May 2020

We recently provided advice related to preventing the spread of COVID-19.

The advice addressed a wide range of issues and was provided to support the health and safety of everyone attending services while maintaining the ongoing delivery of early childhood education and care to the families of NSW through this pandemic. Services’ ongoing commitment to providing high quality education and care to families is appreciated.

Some services have noted a difference in the health advice as set out by AHPCC and the guidelines published by SafeWork Australia regarding the application of the 4 square metres of space per person recommendation. The advice provided by the Department is in line with the health advice provided by the AHPPC.

We have been in contact with both SafeWork Australia and SafeWork NSW to discuss concerns raised by the sector about the discrepancy between the Health advice and the guidelines published by SafeWork Australia. SafeWork NSW has been in contact with us and provided the following clarification:

“In NSW, under the Public Health Orders (more information and the orders are here), gatherings at childcare facilities are not subject to restrictions on how many people (including adults or children) can be on the premises (i.e they are generally exempt).

And while SafeWork NSW is not responsible for, or have any powers under the NSW Public Health orders, we recommend, encourage and expect, where reasonably practicable that workplaces implement controls to reduce the risks of COVID-19 in line with health advice.

The reference from SafeWork Australia is guidance only. In practice SafeWork NSW we understand children will not be able to understand or follow physical distancing recommendations, however we would expect controls to be in place to minimise the number of adults congregating onsite consistent with the advice.”

We hope this information is of assistance and provides clarity. If you have any further questions please contact our Information and Enquiries line.

  • Early childhood education
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