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How the coronavirus pandemic and NZ lockdown may be affecting you and your early childhood service - questions, discussions, concerns, help.
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TOPIC: Opening your service - Education Regulations and Collective Contract H&S

Opening your service - Education Regulations and Collective Contract H&S 1 month 2 weeks ago #932

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There is no intention to scare but we do need to talk about re-opening your ECE service while the risk of Covid-19 remains.

The NZ government has indicated that all ECE services except for Playcentres and play groups are to reopen when we move to Alert Level 3. Parents are advised not to use ECE unless they need or want to (no questions asked).

It cannot be known if a child or adult has the virus since not every person who has the virus will show symptoms.

Owners, companies, board members and community organisations will need to consider what procedures they will need to have in place to ensure their service doesn't operate in breach of:
  • regulations and licensing criteria for health and safety
  • any collective agreement they may be part of (e.g. the KTCA)

Legal requirements include:

HS26 (centre-based) HS23 (home-based) Response to infectious illnesses
All practicable steps are taken to ensure that children do not come into contact with any person (adult or child) on the premises who is suffering from a disease or condition likely to be passed onto children and likely to have a detrimental effect on them.

Education Act 1989, Clause 319A Parent’s right of entry
The parent or guardian of a child has a right of entry to a licensed early childhood education and care centre or to the premises where a licensed home-based education and care service is provided, whenever the child is there, except if the parent or guardian is suffering from a contagious or infectious disease likely to have a detrimental effect on the children if passed on to them.

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008, Section 57 (1)
In order to ensure that the standards set out in this Part are complied with, the service provider of a licensed service and any educator who provides education and care for a licensed home-based education and care service must comply with subclause (2), if the service provider or educator has reasonable grounds to believe that a person employed or engaged in the service, or any other person, has an infectious or contagious disease or condition. The service provider and the educator must ensure that— (a) the person is excluded from coming into contact with the children participating in the service or, as the case requires, the children being educated by the educator; and (b) if satisfied that it is necessary to do so to ensure that no child becomes ill, ensure that the person is excluded from the service and does not enter or remain in any premises where the service is provided while it is being provided or, as the case requires, is excluded from the home and does not enter it or remain in it while the educator is providing education and care.

Kindergarten Teachers, Head Teachers And Senior Teachers’ Collective Agreement 2019-2022 (Page 8 on Employer Health and Safety)
1. Where a teacher’s health and safety are shown to be significantly at risk through the course of their duties, the employer shall, in consultation with the appropriate health and safety authorities, take such steps as are necessary to provide protection for the teacher.
2. The employer shall ensure safe working practices and appropriate hygiene measures are in place to reduce the risk of infection by contagious diseases. Where there is significantly increased risk the situation shall be assessed on an individual basis and pre-exposure immunisation made available as advised by the Ministry of Health.
3 Employers shall take all practical steps to ensure a safe working environment for teachers. Teachers also have a role in ensuring their own health and safety and that of people around them as described in the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Rutherford Street Kindergarten

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Last edit: by ChildForum team member.
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