WE ARE HERE TO SUPPORT OUR FAMILIES DURING COVID TIME!
COVID-19 Updated – Monday 11th October 2021
Last night we received confirmation from the Department of Education that as of Monday the 18th of October 2021 we will no longer be able to waive the gap fees for non-attendance.
This means that all accounts will be charged as per your child’s regular attendance pattern even during absences and the Department of Education is encouraging families to have their children return to Education and Care settings.
It also means that the 42 allowable absences will recommence so if after next Monday the 18th of October 2021 if your child is absent this absent day will count toward your allowable absences for the Financial Year.
If you have yet to inform the Centre of your intentions for your children’s return to the Centre, we encourage you to please contact us as soon as possible.
We appreciate everyone’s understanding as we now tackle the big task of sorting through the accounts individually for families returning or families who have been having mixed attendance over the past few months. Gap payments need to be waived in arrears so this means as of next week we will be able to review all accounts and contact families to get everything back on track for weekly billing.
This week we will be sending out our updated Covid-19 policy for families to be informed of the current processes we have in place at the Centres. We will be continuing with the current foyer drop off and pick up arrangements for the foreseeable future and this potentially may be in place for the remainder of the year.
If you have any questions or concerns or need to discuss any individual requirements/changes please contact either myself or your Centre Directors.
General Manager – Only ELC
COVID-19 Updated – Friday 20th August 2021
After this morning’s announcement from our Premier there has been information shared regarding the requirements for Early Childhood and for the Lockdown extending into September.
We have received preliminary information from the department of Education this afternoon and they have requested us to send the following information to all our families- This information is as follows-
At this point in time, we are still operating as we have been for previous weeks. Families are still able to leave their home (or their LGAs) to access the Centres for Education and Care purposes if this is necessary for your family circumstance.
If our families are choosing to keep their children at home on a regular basis than we will be waiving the Gap Fee payments for these families if this has been communicated in advance. If you are intending on keeping your children at home, please email your Centres directly as soon as possible.
We are strongly encouraging those families who are staying at home to remain enrolled with the Centres. We will always support families’ decisions during this time however by keeping your children enrolled at the Centre, it enables us to be paid the CCS entitlements throughout the lockdown period which is a vital contribution to the Centres Income which supports our Educators employment.
We have had families seek clarification on the “Additional Absences” for CCS. Please know that we have not officially been told the exact number of additional absences that will be granted during this lockdown period.
All we know is that any families choosing to keep their children at home during the lock down period- WILL NOT HAVE THESE DAYS COUNTED IN THE 42 DAYS OF ALLOWABLE ABSENCES. I do not believe that this number will be release officially by Centrelink until there is firm confirmation on when this current lockdown will be ceasing. I have had families give me numbers that have been told from Centrelink however both numbers where different so we will be waiting for official communication from Centrelink prior to communicating this to you all.
It was also announced today that Vaccination is now mandated for all Educators in ECEC who live in the LGA’S of concern. Only Early Learning Centre supports this response from the NSW Government and will be adhering to the requirement prior to the 30th of August 2021.
At this current stage we will continue to be supported by NSW Health and the Department of Education regarding restrictions and best practices approaches in terms of COVID-19.
We will continue to keep you all updated if there are any changes,
If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us,
General Manager- Only ELC
COVID-19- Update- Lockdown Extension Wednesday 28th July 2021
Good afternoon families,
I wanted to start off by thanking everyone who has continued to support us, share kind words of appreciation and encouragement. The last few weeks have had its challenges and I am still incredibly confident of our ability to continue to support our families and our Educators through the next few weeks of the extension of the Lock Down.
Today our NSW Premier announced that the current lock down for greater Sydney will be extended for an additional 4 weeks. We will be continuing with how we have managed the previous two weeks in terms of attendance and waiving Gap fees for pre-arranged non-attendance.
We are asking families to please confirm their attendance patterns for the next four weeks. This can be done by emailing your Management team of your Centre.
- Not attending for the whole Lockdown period
- Mixed attendance for the Lock down period (Please confirm days)
- Attending as normal
If your child is not attending for the duration of the lockdown, your Gap fees will continue to be waived. If your child will have “mixed attendance” meaning they will be coming some days but not others the pre confirmed absent days will have the Gap Fee waiver.
If you have indicated that your child will be attending any day, if your child does not attend, we will not be waiving the Gap Payment and your will be charged as normal. This is because we are rostering our Educators hours based on the number of children attending.
If you do not know what attendance will look like for the next four weeks or if you find yourself in the position that it may vary, please just contact your management team as soon as possible to discuss any changes.
As per our understanding families who live in the Blacktown LGA can leave to drop off and pick up their children if care is required. The Departments recommendation continues to “strongly recommend” anyone that can keep their children at home do so. Both Norwest and Rouse Hill will continue to operate and no enrolled child (who is symptom free, not waiting covid test results or considered a close contact) will be turned away from care.
I wanted to also stress the importance of being fully transparent and honest with us. We are relying on Families to communicate when they or their children are being tested and if they have been considered a close or casual contact. There are also further requirements for your household if you are considered a close contact and this information can be reviewed following this link-
If families are made aware of any local cases that have been identified, we are asking if you could please email us as more often are seeing community awareness is faster than NSW Health (which is understandable). This will enable us to react more promptly should the need arise.
Regarding families accounts we also appreciate everyone’s patience as we add the waivers on a week-to-week basis. For most families your Xplor accounts through the App will not be reflective of your actual account as we are not applying the Waiver amounts until the end of each week. We will continue to stop direct debits on a weekly basis and will be sorting though individual accounts over the next few weeks. Please contact us at any point in time to discuss your account queries.
We have had serval questions regarding the 42 Allowable absences for CCS. At this current time, we have had no further information about the number of days increasing however when Melbourne’s outbreak occurred last year the allowable absence where increase and I believe this will occur for NSW as well. The clarification on the number I am assuming will not be decided until we know how long the lock down period will be for. We will continue to keep you all informed if we obtain further information.
If there are any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to either contact your Centre’s
Management team or with me directly.
Stay safe everyone,
Kelly Williams- General Manager
Only Early Learning Centres
COVID-19- CCS GAP FEE- DURING LOCK DOWN Friday 16th July 2021
Good afternoon families,
We appreciate all the families who returned the Notification of attendance. If you have yet to notify us this needs to be done ASAP as if we do not hear from you about your attendance by 4pm, it will be assumed you are attending, and you will be charged as normal for the next 2 weeks regardless of if you keep your children home or not. If you have not communicated with us, please ensure that you do so immediately.
We have received a small amount of clarity regarding the CCS Gap Fee and wanted to communicate with you all what this is going to look like for the Centres.
We have been advised that all Centres have the choice to “opt in” or “opt out” in terms of Waiving the Gap Fee for non-attendance. This is not compulsory for Centres to offer. The terms and conditions around this appear to be something that each Service is allowed to set.
Only ELC Norwest & Only ELC Rouse Hill will be choosing to opt in. We are here to support our families during this difficult time. We will however need to put the following requirements in place-
- All families are to complete their Notification of Attendance form so that we can affectively plan Educators rosters based on attendance. If the lockdown continues past the 30th July we will be resending the Notification of Attendance form and families will need to completed this for an additional two weeks. This process will continue each fortnight until the Lockdown is ended.
- If you have notified the Centre that your child/children are attending this means that your fees and charges will remain as normal. This also will mean that the same policies and procedures will apply and if your child is unwell or you choose not to bring them in than fees will be required to be paid as normal.
- If you have notified on Mixed Attendance (Attending some enrolled days) you will have days that you have selected as not attending have the Gap Fee waived however for the days you have communicated you are attending- normal charges will continue even in absence.
- If you have chosen not to attend however circumstance change, please let us know as soon as possible so that Educators Rosters can be amended to accommodate varying attendance patterns- No child will be turned away however we need effective communication from families if there are changes in your circumstances.
Allowable Absences– Any children not attending will have their non-attendance marked as Absent and this will contribute to the 42 Allowable CCS Absences. Allowable Absences reset on the 1st July 2021 for the new financial year. This means from this date all children had 42 absence days available. Additional absences may be able to be granted once a child has exhausted all 42 days.
Accounts– We have been made aware that any discounts on Gap Payments will need to be manually entered on each individual account. We are aware that some Direct Debits for next week have already been charged. If you are not attending over the next two weeks your current account will be paused. We will be skipping future Direct Debits for families in non-attendance if your account is in credit and will be reviewing accounts on an individual basis.
Please bear with us during this time. We will need to manual enter individual credits on each account affected, we will be working on this over the next two weeks and communicate with individual families when required.
We are in the middle of trying to balance being fair and supportive for our families by opting into Waiving the Gap Fee and navigating the significant financial impact this has on us as a business. We will 100% continue to support our Educators with choices of ongoing employment, options for Centrelink payments as well as time at home to be able to home school children and keep Educators families safe. This may mean that over the course of the Lockdown period, Educators may work at different Centre if required. We will be mindful of ensuring consistency for familiarity of Educators for children over this time however there may also be new faces around the centres.
We will continue to keep open communication with you all regarding the progress of this. We are more than happy to discuss anything individually with families regarding their circumstances.
If there are any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to either contact your Centre’s Management team or with me directly, I will be available for “Urgent” communication via email over the weekend.
Stay safe everyone,
Kelly Williams- General Manager
Only Early Learning Centres