Nominations for Early Childhood Services (ECS) Council closed on Thursday 15 July.
The IEU’s ECS team would like to say thank you to ECS Councillors who will not be returning to their positions on the Council: Lyn Connors, Ariane Simon, Julia Cameron and Suzanne Snowball. Each of these members have made invaluable contributions to the work of the union over the years and they will certainly be missed.
Going forwards, the IEU congratulates returning ECS Councillor Amy Martin. We extend a warm welcome to our two new Sydney Metropolitan Councillors, Michelle Thompson and Natalie Leeson and new South Coast Councillor, Jane Courtney. The Hunter/Central Coast position is vacant as we did not receive any nominations for either of these branches. An election will be held in Term 4 to determine the three country positions.
Of course, Gabrielle Connell remains our ECS Vice President until 2022.
Impact of lockdowns
The IEU received several inquiries from early childhood members regarding working during to the COVID-19 pandemic, being classified as vulnerable due to serious health conditions and yet unable to physically distance with young children.
The onerous testing requirements in some areas, the need to supervise their own school-age children engaged in remote learning at home and the attendance of children with parents who are either working from home or not working were all concerns.
In addition, long day care centres saw a sudden drop in attendance with a corresponding decrease in income once the Federal Government announced that services would not need to charge the gap fee for children if they do not attend early childhood education and care (ECEC) during the lockdown.
The NSW Government has not asked families to keep their children at home, except in the intensely affected south-west and western Sydney local government areas.
While this seems to be at odds with directions that people should stay at home to minimise movement and the risk of transmission, parents who continue to send their children to preschool are not failing to comply with the legal requirements.
That said, no children or employees with any COVID symptoms should be allowed on the premises and you may require a negative COVID test for those who have been away sick with relevant symptoms before they can return to the centre (providing this is consistent with centre policies).