COVID 19 - CORONAVIRUS UPDATES
16 March, 2019
Illness Policy - IMPORTANT UPDATE
We have observed a number of children arriving with symptoms of illness over the past week. While parents may feel their child is well enough to attend, it is imperative that children are given the opportunity to fully recover from infections before returning.
Whilst symptoms remain evident, the child’s immune system is compromised and the chance of catching other illnesses is increased. Even if your child is not demonstrating signs of illness, should they verbalise feeling unwell or especially tired, please exercise due consideration.
When considering your child’s suitability to attend, we strongly encourage all members of our community to act with responsibility and consideration to help ease anxiety and keep our children, families and staff as safe as possible.
With this in mind, we wish to advise effective immediately that a 48 hour exclusion period will apply to all children exhibiting the following symptoms:
- runny nose
- temperature above 38 degrees
- sore throat
- loose bowel motion
This also applies to any child who has had fever reducing medication administered prior to attendance.
Where children are required to be collected, we request this occurs within 30 minutes of being notified. Please ensure you have planned for this possibility and made arrangements for an alternative person to collect your child should you not be available.
All children who are either absent or sent home with the above symptoms are required to have a doctors clearance on return to the centre, without exception.
13th March, 2020
Children + Media Reminder
With Coronavirus being a prominent topic and featuring heavily in the news at the moment, children may demonstrate feelings of confusion or worry. We wanted to share some information that may be helpful in managing media exposure to potentially frightening stories.
1. A news blackout is rarely helpful
The important thing here is balance. Force-feeding children news or going to great lengths to shield them from it can be unhelpful. Avoid turning the television off or closing web pages when they come in to the room. This can peak their interest to find out what's really going on – and that is when their imagination can take over.
2. Let them know the facts
If children have access to clear and honest explanations of what is happening, and know that it's okay to talk about scary or tricky subjects, it can give them the confidence to reach out about them. Try reading or watching reputable news sources together that you have already previewed, or share news in the moment by explaining what is happening verbally in an unbiased way.
3. Discourage overexposure
Small doses of real life news are really helpful. Large doses can have a negative impact as children can become fixated on a news story, and repeatedly look at news coverage relating to it. To avoid overexposure, encourage them to discuss the news story once watched so that they can understand what is happening. This provides a safe space for all of their questions. From there, be mindful of the amount of exposure your child is potentially receiving as each time a story is seen, children can perceive it as a new event, even if it is a repeat of the same facts.
4. Let your children know they are safe
All children, even teenagers, want to know that their parents can keep them safe. The best way to communicate safety is by talking about worrying news with open, confident, clear and truthful facts. Go through all of the reasons that mean they are in a safe place rather than well-meaningly dismissing their feelings by telling them everything is fine.
5. Let them know that it is normal to be concerned
Try sharing with them that you also find events like this worrying. Let them know that you can balance up these worries with the reality of them actually coming true. You would want them to leave this conversation realising that although bad things can happen, they don't happen very often, so they do not need to be scared all the time.
6. Reassure them that there are helpers
Children need to feel that there is someone who will take care of the situation. Let them know that trained people are helping affected people and animals as best and as quickly as they can. Take a moment to acknowledge the wonderful ways that people come together in hard times to take care of one another.
7. Tailor the conversation to their age
All children have different temperaments and sensitivities. Their ability to understand the world, take in and react to bad news will depend on their age. If you have more than one child, you might want to talk about the news with them individually and tailor what you say to their needs and level.
8. Find the right time to talk about it
It may be that your child starts asking questions about a news event at an inconvenient time. In this case, let them know that you have heard them and think what they are asking about is important. Tell them that you would like to talk to them about it later and invite them to remind you, so they know you really are interested.
9. Leave lots of space for questions
It is common for children to have misunderstandings about traumatic events. Children tend to make up what they don’t know, which is often a lot worse than the reality. Encouraging them to ask lots of questions is important as it allows space for a truthful and open explanation that can help correct these.
10. Allow for repetition
Remember that children tend to repeat themselves when they are feeling uncertain or worried. They may need to ask the same question a number of times until they are feeling more reassured.
11. Be as truthful as possible
It can be tempting, when children ask a direct or tricky question, to avoid it by bending the truth. This can be unhelpful when they are talking to others about what happened. It is often more helpful to be as honest as possible. This is also true of questions when you don't know the answer. Remember that it is okay not to know, or to go away and find out and get back to them.
Please feel free to further discuss any queries or concerns you may have with your child's educator.
11th March, 2020
We are writing with an update regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19). We are continuing to carefully follow advice from the Department of Education and Queensland Health to monitor the situation and identify and manage any potential impacts on our Children’s House and wider community.
To keep our children, families and staff as safe as possible, we request that we are informed of the following activities:
• If you have returned from overseas in the last 14 days. Please do not attend the centre prior to contacting the office to advise of your return.
• If you have relatives or friends staying with you from overseas.
• If you are planning to travel overseas in the next few months and when you will be returning.
Please note, The Australian Government has added Italy to the list of travel restrictions, alongside China, Iran and South Korea. If traveling, please check the Dept. of Home Affairs website for current information regarding restrictions to overseas destinations.
At this stage, we will proceed with our regular planned events, however this may change if required.
Following the diagnosis of Coronavirus in other states, the government has temporarily closed affected schools. In these cases, parents were instructed to pick up their children from school with little warning. While there is no current plan for the centre to close, parents are asked to remain aware of this possibility and make precautionary plans.
Within the Children's House, we are ensuring best practice is followed in relation to hygiene amongst children and staff and remaining vigilant in checking for any signs of illness.
If you or your child exhibits cold or flu symptoms:
• do not attend the centre.
• remain at home;
• avoid close contact with others such as touching, kissing or hugging;
• avoid any mass gatherings, especially those involving other children;
• see a doctor or contact 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) immediately;
• seek medical advice if your child has other underlying medical conditions;
• call ahead to the medical centre or doctor’s surgery, advising of your child’s symptoms
It is also important to continue to encourage your children to:
• wash their hands regularly with soap and water, particularly before and after eating, and after going to the toilet;
• use alcohol-based hand sanitiser if soap is unavailable;
• cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of their elbow; and
• dispose of tissues in the bin immediately.
Further advice and information about the Coronavirus is available on the Queensland Health website:
Should you be concerned about your child attending over the coming weeks, we are recommending that you make decisions that are best for your individual family situation.
We have written a policy regarding Coronavirus which can be viewed on our Hope Island Montessori website in the Parents section. (Password - him). We will continue to update this policy and share information via Storypark as new information comes to hand.
These are challenging times for our community and we understand many are feeling a high level of concern. Please let us know if you have further questions or feel you require additional support that we may be able to assist with.