Re: Updated actions to minimise against the spread of disease
As you may have heard, Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos have announced that a State of Emergency has been declared in Victoria to combat COVID-19. This begins as of today, Monday, 16 March at midday and will be in force for the next four weeks to assist with measures designed to ‘flatten the curve’ of COVID-19 and give our health system the best chance of managing the virus. https://www.premier.vic.gov.au/state-of-emergency-declared-in-victoria-over-covid-19/
Under a State of Emergency, Authorised Officers, at the direction of the Chief Health Officer, can act to eliminate or reduce a serious risk to public health by detaining people, restricting movement, preventing entry to premises, or providing any other direction an AO considers reasonable to protect public health.
The first direction from the Chief Health Officer under these new powers includes:
– banning non-essential mass gatherings of over 500 people such as cultural events, sporting events or conferences.
– enforce 14-day isolation requirements for all travellers entering Australia
Kindergartens will remain open for now. As an organisation, we cannot make the decision to close a service – we are a government funded organisation and as such, need to be guided by the government as to the decision to close.
Things can change at any time and we are monitoring the situation closely.
As a measure of reassurance for families, we wanted to let you know what we have and continue to do, to minimise the spread of disease:
– ALL outings into the local community and formal excursions into the wider world, with children, have been postponed until further notice (this was in effect last week).
– ALL service tours across all GEKA sites have been cancelled until term 2 (April are the next scheduled tours). This will be reviewed prior to April and further decisions made as needed
– ALL service Emergency Management Plans have been updated and will be followed in the event of an emergency
– GEKA management have updated the operational Business Continuity Plan (BCP), in the event of a range of emergency scenarios
– ALL staff are required to notify GEKA with past and future holiday plans – this information is being added to a register and will be used in consultation with information that the government provide about travel
– GEKA volunteers were advised to postpone all social and fundraising events involving large numbers of people in the community (and we apologise for any inconvenience this has caused).
– GEKA continue to provide staff and families with links to the most updated fact sheets and advice from DET and DHHS
The GEKA community, as at the time of this message, have NO confirmed cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
We remain vigilant, as such, remind families of the following:
– STAY HOME if your child is unwell – even if you feel they can ‘push through’ we are asking all families to keep children home that are not their usual selves.
– If your child or anyone your family is in contact with, displays/has displayed the symptoms of COVID-19, do not attend the service.
Staff have been advised to follow the same protocols and as such, we ask families to be understanding of possible changes to staffing arrangements.
See below link on how you can support your child to understand what’s happening regarding Coronavirus: How to talk to your child about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Children will look to us all for reassurance that they are safe, so we must work together to send consistent messages of hope. Remember that our outward fear becomes their fear and similarly, our calm becomes their calm.
Thanks for your cooperation.
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