CLARIFICATION: Are QR Codes mandatory for NSW's ECEC services?

Firstly, sincere apologies for what has been further confusion that may have been caused by the Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) NSW's COVID Member Alert yesterday (1 July 2021).


According to verbal advice from a meeting ACA NSW had this morning with the NSW Department of Education, the NSW Department of Education confirmed that the NSW Government's actual announcement "... was ambiguous" as it did not specifically include NSW's early childhood education and care (ECEC) services.


That said, the NSW Department of Education's advice from NSW Health is that ECEC services must display their Service NSW QR codes or digital sign-in sheet from Monday, 12 July 2021 onwards.


As such, to err on the side of caution, ACA NSW is advising its members to heed the advice from the NSW Department of Education.


That said, as advised to the NSW Department of Education, ACA NSW will be seeking clarification from the NSW Minister for Health (the Hon Brad Hazzard MP) and NSW Health given especially ECEC services can already provide NSW Health upon request with electronic records of all attendances, arrivals and departures information for any given day(s) and times.


Moreover, for ECEC services who are currently facilitating drop-offs and pick-ups at the services' perimeters (ie parents/guardians do not enter the service), it remains unclear whether QR codes are still needed. Of concern will be parents/guardians/visitors' use of those QR codes inadvertently increasing the chances of airborne infection especially given this Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus.


Should ACA NSW members need further information/clarification, please do not hesitate to contact the ACA NSW team on 1300 556 330 or nsw@childcarealliance.org.au.


USEFUL QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON QR CODES


Q1: Are education and care services required to check that visitors are using QR check in? 

A1: The NSW Government announced that from Monday, 12 July 2021, the Service NSW QR code will be mandatory at all workplaces and retail businesses, including all early childhood education and care services. There is no requirement that services sight a check-in, though visitors should be reminded to do so in line with the requirement. (Source: NSW Department of Education (5 July 2021))


Q2: When are families and visitors required to use the Service NSW QR Code?

A2: Families and visitors are required to check-in using the Service NSW QR code upon entering the service premises.  Service premises are defined in Q&A4 below and may include car parks and other parts of the service located outdoors. Families and visitors picking up their child(ren) from outside the service premise are not required to check-in using the QR code but may choose to do so. (Source: NSW Department of Education (7 July 2021))


Q3: Where should I display the Service NSW QR code?

A3: Multiple QR code locations should be identified and used to ensure families, visitors and staff members are able to check-in safely. Locations should include the entrance/exit to the service premises, building or foyer entrances or in other higher traffic areas, particularly where families may be interacting with staff members. (Source: NSW Department of Education (7 July 2021))


Q4: How is a "premise" defined? Do parents need to check in via the QR codes if they are in the playground or in the car park?

A4: Families, visitors and staff members are require to check-in using the Service NSW QR code upon entering the service premises. Service premises in this regard encompasses the areas over which the service has use, and may include car parks and other parts of the service located outdoors. (Source: NSW Department of Education (7 July 2021))


Q5: Does an Out-of-School-Hours-Care (OSHC) service on a school site need its own QR code, or can families just use the school QR code?

A5: OSHC services, including those on school sites, should have their own separate QR code as this makes it easier for NSW Health to do contact tracing based on the specific operating hours of the business. (Source: NSW Department of Education (7 July 2021))


Q6: Given that Out-of-School-Hours-Care (OSHC) services on school sites will have their own QR code, do families need to check-in to both the school QR code and the OSHC QR code?

A6: If families are attending school during school hours, they should use the school QR code. If families are attending OSHC during OSHC business hours, they should use the OSHC QR code. Of course, if families are unsure and wish to use both they may do so. This is to ensure effective contact tracing, should a risk arise. (Source: NSW Department of Education (7 July 2021))


PUBLISHED: 2 JULY 2021

UPDATED: 7 JULY 2021

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