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ECE Centres Need More Support Through RSV Outbreak

The Early Childhood Council has called for more support for early learning centres coping with the RSV outbreak.

“We’re told this is outbreak is business as usual – it doesn’t feel that way to us,” said ECC CEO Peter Reynolds.

“A growing proportion of our members tells us there’s a huge spike in absences, creating those gaps for unwell kids that then creates additional pressures for centres. Hard on the heels of COVID-19, centres deserve certainty that if this continues or gets worse, the Ministry will have their back.”

Centres are playing their part to contain this outbreak by encouraging parents to keep sick tamariki home and providing education around hygiene.

The current support options presented by the Ministry include a three week continuous absence rule and a frequent absence rule, but they’re a square peg in a round hole for the nature of this outbreak.

“Anecdotally, centres suddenly have up to half their rolls missing. Ideally, providers would be receiving clear communication to pass on to their centre communities, and reassurance that they’ll continue to get support from the ministry in circumstances of financial hardship,” said Mr Reynolds.

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