The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) published a statement on Early Childhood and Learning Centres (ECLC) on 6 April 2020.
In accordance with the previous statement, AHPPC recommends that unwell staff, children and visitors do not attend. Children, staff and parents should use appropriate hand and respiratory hygiene and centres should use an enhanced cleaning regimen.
AHPPC does not believe that the ‘venue density rule’ of no more than 1 person per 4 square metres is appropriate or practical in ECLC, nor is maintaining 1.5m between children. This extends to rooms, corridors and outdoor play areas. This advice applies to children interacting with other children, and also to adults providing care or interacting with children in this environment.
AHPPC continues to note that there is very limited evidence of transmission between children; population screening overseas has shown very low incidence of positive cases in school-aged children. In Australia, less than 1% (0.8%) of confirmed cases have been in children under 5 years of age as at 15 May 2020.
AHHPC advises adults to continue to undertake physical distancing when interacting with other adults, in areas such as staff rooms and when picking up or dropping off children.
This clarification complements AHPPC’s statement on Early Childhood and Learning Centres (ECLC).
AHPPC has noted that the document on ELCLs is broad and that decisions on how to apply the guidance should be made by each jurisdiction with consideration of their local epidemiology and context.