The Victorian Government has announced all education and care (childcare and kindergarten) services in greater metropolitan Melbourne will move to stage 4 restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19. This means dramatic changes for Melbourne families trying to juggle work and care.
What do you need to know? And where can you find the right advice? Here’s our guide to navigating the latest education and care information for stage 4 lockdown.
Childcare (long daycare, occasional care and family daycare) and kindergarten
- Who can access it? Only the children of permitted workers and vulnerable kids are able to access childcare and kinder. For the purposes of childcare and kinder, a permitted worker can also include someone working from home. Single parents working from home that are not permitted workers, are not eligible to access childcare, even if they are unable to supervise their children.
- What are the categories of permitted industries? List of DHHS permitted industries here.
- Which children are classified as vulnerable? This applies to vulnerable children in out of home care, children known to child protection and other agencies, Aboriginal and Torres Islander children, children with identified additional needs who also meet the previous criteria. Children at risk of family violence may also be included. Speak to your childcare provider for more information.
- Do I need a permit? Yes. You will have to declare that there is no other person who can care for your children at home. There are penalties for false declarations.
- What permit do I need? There are three types of workers permits. The permit you need will depend on whether you are working outside the home and need to use childcare or working from home and need to use childcare (the third permit is for those working outside the home who do not need to access childcare). You will only need to carry one permit.
- Permits can be found here.
- Is the government providing financial support to families enrolled in but not using childcare? Eligible families have been offered 30 days of allowable absences where they will not have to pay gap fees while their children stay home from childcare. Parents will be expected to use their existing 42 days of allowable absences first.^ Childcare providers are urging parents to keep their children enrolled so as not to lose their place and to keep the sector viable. It is worthwhile noting that some providers are waiving the gap fee. Speak to your childcare provider for more information.
- When do the restrictions apply? From Thursday 6 August 2020 for six weeks.
In-home childcare (nannies, babysitters and family members – paid or unpaid)
- Who can access it? Permitted workers who have no one else at home to look after their children while they are working, i.e. the other parent is also a permitted worker or it is a single parent household, may maintain an existing arrangement for in-home childcare.
- Can I commence a new informal childcare arrangement? No. Permitted workers can continue to use in-home carers for their children under existing arrangements only. New caring arrangements are not permitted.
- Can two family members babysit together in the child’s home? No. Only one carer can be in the child’s home at one time.
- According to Business Victoria, children can be cared for by family members in either the child or family member’s home as long as the above conditions are met. The family member does not have to live within 5km of the child. The Victorian Government is reminding families that grandparents and elderly relatives are in an at-risk group, and strongly advising that they do not participate in in-home child care arrangements.
Primary and secondary school
- Which students can attend on-site? Prep to Year 10 students will continue with remote and flexible learning, while all Year 11 and 12 students will move to remote and flexible learning. Students can attend on-site if their parents are permitted workers or if they are vulnerable children. A permit is required (see criteria above).
- The GAT will be rescheduled to Wednesday 7 October 2020.
- The schedule for VCE exams and release of results will remain as previously advised.
- When do the restrictions apply? From Thursday 6 August 2020, and likely to apply until the end of Term 3 (Friday 18 September 2020).
Useful links and hotlines
- For more information about the restrictions, visit Coronavirus restrictions Victoria or call the COVID-19 hotline on 1800 675 398
- For more information on the Worker Permit Scheme call Business Victoria on 13 22 15
- DHHS coronavirus website
- Department of Justice permitted worker scheme details
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for schools
- Stay at home directions (Restricted areas) (No 7)
^The Herald Sun