COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

YWCA Canberra management is actively monitoring advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO), ACT Health, NSW Health and the ACT Education Directorate about the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

Current status

Updated 27 March 2020 at 4:20pm

There are no cases of COVID-19 in any YWCA Canberra services.

Our Early Education and Care, School-Age Care and Family Day Care programs will be operating next week (Week starting 30 March). At this stage, our holiday care programs are still going ahead.

We understand there has been significant confusion regarding the status of childcare services, especially school-age care. The ACT Education Directorate has asked us to remain open at this time.

If you consider it likely you will not be using our services for some time, you can cancel your child’s enrolment then re-enrol when schools return to normal function. However, a two week notification period applies.

If you are in financial stress, please email our childcare accounts team to discuss what we can do to help.

If there are any changes to this over the weekend, we will communicate it on this page.

All YWCA Canberra events have been cancelled or postponed.

If you have already booked for our She Leads workshops or our 31 March In-Conversation event, you can choose to have your tickets refunded or credited towards a future event.

Our Mural Lanyon Youth and Community Centre and YWCA Canberra Clubhouse are closed, except for our Lanyon Food Hub.

We are exploring ways to conduct our youth engagement activities online.

Our education and training workshops are going ahead via Microsoft Teams online learning.

What we are doing to manage the situation

We have been providing information to all our staff on how to prevent potential spread of the virus since late January. This has included advice from the WHO and ACT Health.

We have increased availability of hand sanitiser, antibacterial soap and antibacterial wipes throughout offices for use by both staff and clients.

We have business continuity plans in place for circumstances like this. We will monitor and update our plans and response in line with any new information or direction from government.

If a YWCA Canberra client or staff member, or a child in one of our services, is confirmed to have COVID-19, we might need to close the service temporarily while ACT Health investigates the incident. If that occurs, any children, clients or staff identified as close contacts of the infected person will need to self-isolate at home for 14 days. We will contact all affected people as soon as possible.

Children’s services

Our children’s services receive regular advice on how to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak from the Australian Department of Health via the ACT regulator, Children’s Education and Care Assurance (CECA). We have been displaying this advice within all children’s services, for both our staff and parents and guardians.

In our children’s services, we always encourage regular handwashing by our staff and our children, especially before and after meals and after using the toilet. We will be reiterating this training throughout our services during this outbreak and will be maintaining strict hygiene practices throughout the day. This includes sanitising toys, furniture and door handles.

All of our early childhood services are cleaned every night by professional cleaners.

As usual, if your child develops any symptoms such as a fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath, please do not bring your child into our services until they are well again. Call your GP in the first instance. By calling your GP before arriving, they can take appropriate infection control measures.

If your child has an existing medical treatment plan, you might want to review the plan with your GP. Please notify your child’s service if there are changes to the plan.

We are monitoring staffing each day to ensure there are appropriate levels of staff for the children in our services.

If the advice or information changes, we will adapt our practices accordingly. If you have any specific concerns, please contact your child’s service.

What you can do

While COVID-19 is of concern, it is important to remember that most people displaying symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat or tiredness are likely suffering with a cold or other respiratory illness, not COVID-19.

The Australian Government has put in place travel restrictions requiring people returning from overseas to self-isolate at home for 14 days. If you or your children have recently returned from overseas, please do not attend any of our services during this isolation period.

If you have a confirmed case of coronavirus and have been at one of our services in the previous 14 days, please call us as soon as possible on 02 6185 2000.

If you have had close contact with anyone confirmed to have COVID-19, please stay home and contact your GP or other medical authorities. If you have had casual contact with a person confirmed to have COVID-19, please follow ACT Health advice.

If you think you might have COVID-19, you can call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.

ACT Health recommends following basic hygiene practices:

  • Wash your hands often, with soap and water, before and after eating as well as after using the toilet.
  • Avoid close contact with others.
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow or directly into a tissue and throw the tissue in a bin.

You could also consider:

  • using anti-bacterial wipes
  • cleaning door handles regularly
  • avoiding touching your face
  • using hand sanitiser regularly when you don’t have access to anti-bacterial soap.

If you or your child are feeling unwell for any reason, please stay home and recuperate. Although the public concern right now is on COVID-19, we don’t want any viruses spreading through our services.

Communication

The health and safety of children, families in our programs and our staff is our top priority. We will continue to monitor any developments across Australia and here in the ACT and keep this page updated.

The unpredictable nature of the situation means that we cannot predict when or if we might need to close services.

If we need to close a service or program, we will provide updates on this page, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. We will also email parents in our children’s services.