Face coverings in early childhood education and care (ECEC) services
In ECEC services, including kindergartens, it is not mandatory for teachers and educators to wear a face covering while working with children, but those who wish to do so, can.
In general, staff are required to wear face coverings when not working with children in other areas of the service (for example, in reception areas, staff rooms and foyers, when providing first aid or taking temperatures), and in travelling to and from your service.
Parents are required to wear face coverings at drop-off and pick-up times.
Children aged under 12 are not required to wear a face covering. Face coverings should never be placed on children aged under two due to choking and strangulation risks
A person who has a medical condition – including problems with their breathing, a serious skin condition on the face, a disability or a mental health condition – is not required to wear a mask or face covering.
Unlike many public spaces and community settings, early childhood settings are controlled settings where entry is restricted and effective transmission reduction measures can be fully supported and reinforced, such as through:
- exclusion of unwell adults and children
- temperature screening on arrival
- regular hand hygiene practice and use of personal hygiene products such as hand sanitiser
- restricted visitors and reduced mixing between groups
- clear protocols in place to support rapid closure, case tracing and containment.
Many ECEC services have already implemented temperature screening for all children, services located in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire are strongly encouraged to continue to do this. Services located in these areas, or who have children attending who live in these areas, that are not temperature screening are strongly encouraged to do so as soon as practicable. Services are encouraged to use an infrared thermometer and ensure it is available to temperature screen any child who arrives throughout the day.
Further information from the Department of Education website can be found here: