We’re committed to doing what’s best for families
At Playgroup we know that playgroup families are committed to doing what is best for their children. We know that our playgroup volunteers and playgroup participants get enormous value from their time at playgroup each week. We find ourselves now in a situation where those two things may conflict with each other. We might find that what is best for our families and our children is to not interact closely with others for a time, so that we stay well and healthy.
It’s not an easy decision to make and we would like to support you to make the decision that is right for yourself, your child/ren and your playgroup.
The evidence is clear – minimising direct social contact with others, is an effective strategy to reduce transmission of Covid-19 and other viruses. As we approach flu season, now it’s more important than ever to avoid the spread of illness by practicing good hygiene and avoiding others while sick. The most effective way to reduce risk of infection is by covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, avoid touching your face unnecessarily, and ensuring you wash your hands regularly and properly.
Covid-19 has now been upgraded to an international pandemic, whilst it is important to remain alert, let’s not be alarmed. As the situation continues to evolve, we are mindful of the need to be vigilant in protecting others, especially those at higher risk. Those of us that live in communities which are far from current infection sites are less at risk than those who are closer to impacted major cities or travel regularly. The evidence is that those who are young and healthy are at least risk of severe effects, or death, then those who are older, frail or have weakened immunity due to other health conditions.
Playgroup Australia has received inquiries concerning whether or not it is safe to get together, and how playgroups might inform a decision to temporarily suspend or move playgroups sessions for a period of time as the situation evolves.
As we write this, the Government has not required playgroups to stop meeting. However, many of our intergenerational playgroups are already taking precautions by temporarily placing sessions within aged care facilities on hold, or moving them to other venues to reduce risk to older participants. Many of these playgroups are working with their state and territory playgroup to ensure connections are maintained. So while each playgroup has a choice about what steps they take to support each other during this time, it’s a good time to have conversations within your playgroup about what your approach will be.
Some ways to prepare your community and stop the spread of illness:
- Encourage handwashing at playgroup and home, maybe through a hand washing activity and sing-a-long
- Provide hand sanitiser
- Consider limiting activities around food and shared platters
- Choose play and craft activities that are less physically interactive
- Advise families showing any signs of illness to stay away from playgroup until they have the all clear from their doctor
- Encourage families to approach a playgroup volunteer if they have concerns about others health
- Clean and disinfect toys and frequently touched objects regularly
- Consider opportunities to remain connected through technology should you temporarily close your playgroup
Playgroup organisations are committed to continuing to inform the playgroup community of new information or decisions taken by Governments that might impact playgroups. It is the responsibility of each playgroup to take responsibility to care for each other by making themselves aware of current public health authorities’ advice, and to consider processes which minimise risk of infection. It is up to each family to recognise that we all have a role to play in keeping each other healthy and happy at playgroup.
We understand the importance of connection and support are even more important when faced with illness or isolation. If as time passes playgroups have to stop meeting in person for a time, our playgroup community will be seeking to find ways to continue to support you to play, share, connect and grow be it through online connection or maintaining connections through letters and messages, or a chat on the phone.
We know that playgroup makes a positive difference in the lives of children and families. We are here to support you and your playgroup as you decide what’s right for yourselves and your community. As each state and territory may be impacted differently, please contact your local playgroup organisation for information relevant to your community.