Pursuant to clause 3 of Schedule 25 of the Education and Training Act 2020, and for the purpose of mitigating the potential adverse effects of the current outbreak of COVID-19, I make the following direction to all licensed home-based education and care service providers who have entered into an executed Alert Level 4 Childcare Services Agreement with the Secretary for Education (“specified service providers”).
I direct that:
- The specified service providers may operate to provide childcare for workers of any alert level 4 business or service pursuant to the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Alert Level Requirements) Order (No 9) 2021, provided those children are aged up to 14 years, and only for the period during which this direction applies.
- The care provided is deemed not to be education and care within the ambit of Part 2 of the Education and Training Act 2020 and the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008. The specified service providers are not required to provide any education or instruction as part of this care arrangement. The specified service providers are not required to meet any regulatory requirements that would otherwise apply to licensed early childhood services except:
- providers must ensure all caregivers have been safety checked in accordance with the Children’s Act 2014, including required police vets; and
- providers must ensure that if care is being provided at the home or place of residence of an individual caregiver, all members of the caregiver’s family aged 17 and older have also been police vetted as required by the Education and Training Act 2020; and
- as specified by the Alert Level 4 Childcare Services Agreement.
- A specified service provider is not restricted by any operating hours or limit imposed on the number of children in the licence granted to the specified service providers under the Regulations, however:
- each individual caregiver providing childcare is limited to caring for the children of one family only; and
- care must comply with the Alert Level 4 Childcare Services Agreement and COVID-19 Public Health Response (Alert Level Requirements) Order (No 9) 2021 or any replacement Alert Level 4 Order at all times.
- The care permitted to be provided under this direction will not be funded pursuant to section 548 of the Education and Training Act 2020. The care permitted by this direction will be funded pursuant to the Alert Level 4 Childcare Services Agreement with the Secretary for Education, which must be complied with at all times.
This direction must be complied with from 23 August 2021 and will expire at the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Alert Level Requirements) Order (No 9) 2021 or any subsequent replacement or extension Alert Level 4 order relating to the current outbreak.
Dated this 21st day of August 2021.
IONA HOLSTED, Secretary for Education.