COVID-19 latest information
Testimonial: "It's so important for us to have the right information to look after the health and wellbeing of our family." - Parent
COVID-19 latest information
We’ve put together the following information to help you and your family get the support you need during COVID-19.
On this page:
- Speaking up for children and families
- Disability support
- Child care, kinder and schools
- Protecting your child and family
- Taking care of yourself
- Easy English and social stories
Speaking up for children and families
ACD is speaking up for the needs of children with disability and their families during COVID-19.
We are continuing to speak up for:
- Extra financial help for carers
- Training for Support Workers in infection control and how to use PPE
- Students being able to go to school if their family is experiencing severe stress
These supports are available under the stage 4 restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne and are also permitted in regional Victoria:
Care provided by a relative or friend
A relative or friend can come to your home to help care for your child with disability, including during the curfew:
- They can travel more than 5km to get to your home
- There is no permit for this
- They should carry ID and be able to explain why they need to visit your home to assist in providing care
- You could ask your GP for a letter explaining your child’s support needs for your relative or friend to carry with them when travelling to your home
Support Workers who provide support that ensures health, safety and wellbeing are an essential service. Support Workers will need to carry a worker permit. This will be provided by your service provider or online matching service.
Support Workers can:
- Provide support in the home, including between 8pm and 5am
- Assist with exercise (no more than one hour, within 5km of your home)
- Support your child’s disability-related needs while they are learning from home
- Travel more than 5km to work
If you have relatives or Support Workers in your home:
- Everyone except children under 12 should wear a face covering
- Wash and sanitise hands regularly
- Wipe down high touch points
- Stay 1.5m apart where possible
- Let each other know if you are feeling unwell, have had close contact with a COVID case or if you test positive for COVID-19
Taking your child for a drive to help support complex behaviour
Under the Stay at Home Directions, you can leave home and take your child for a drive to escape harm, including harm to themselves. This is under the care and compassionate grounds and includes leaving the 5km zone and going out during curfew.
You will need to have evidence of your child’s behaviour support needs, such as an NDIS Plan with behaviour support or a letter from a therapist or GP.
It’s important to use common sense and remember that this should only be done to escape harm and to help support complex behaviour.
If you do take your child for a drive, do not stop anywhere unless essential and do not leave metropolitan Melbourne.
To stop the spread of COVID-19, stay home whenever possible.
Exercising as a family
Both parents can exercise with their children or you can exercise separately if that works better for you as a family.
Child care, kinder and schools
Childminding and babysitting
If you are a permitted worker, working from home or outside of the home, and there is no one else available to care for your children, you can have a babysitter (paid or unpaid) come to your home or you can take your child to another person’s house to be cared for while you work. This needs to be a pre-existing arrangement.
Early childhood services – child care and kinder
If you are a permitted worker, working from home or outside of the home, and there is no one else available to care for your children, your child can attend child care or kinder. You need to complete an Access to Childcare Permit
Children experiencing vulnerability, which may include children eligible for the Kindergarten Inclusion Support Scheme (KISS) funding or Commonwealth Inclusion Support, can apply directly to their early childhood service to attend.
All students at mainstream schools and special schools will be learning from home, except for:
- Students whose parents are defined as permitted workers, who are working outside the home
- Students in vulnerable situations including out-of-home care or who are experiencing family violence
- Students with disability whose families are experiencing severe stress
Speak to your child’s school about your family situation.
Regional Victoria (including Mitchell Shire)
- Child care and kindergartens remain open
- Special schools remain open – students who can’t attend because of medical advice or parent choice will be given learning activities to do at home
- All students at all mainstream schools will be learning from home
Mainstream schools remain open for:
- Students whose parents work outside the home
- Students with disability
- Students in vulnerable situations
For more information
Students should have modified learning tasks and personalised support if they are at home or at school.
- Read more in our fact sheet Student Support Group meetings and reasonable adjustments during COVID-19
- Department of Education and Training (DET) Coronavirus advice for parents, carers and guardians
- DET Parent Helpline 1800 338 663
How we can help you
During COVID-19, the NDIA has made changes to how NDIS Plans can be used. Think about what services would best support your child and family. This might include:
- Having Support Workers come to your home
- Using telehealth for therapy appointments
- Purchasing a device or fitness equipment for your child
For all the options read our fact sheets on:
- NDIS Supports for your child during COVID-19
- Finding the right Support Workers for your child and family
- Activities your Support Worker can do during COVID-19
How to change your child’s Plan
Speak with your Support Co-ordinator, Local Area Co-ordinator or Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) Co-ordinator.
If your local contact is not aware of what changes can be made, contact the NDIS on 1800 800 110 and select Option 5 for the special COVID-19 Planners. The NDIS Contact Centre is open 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday.
For more information
NEW – The NDIA has released a COVID-19 information pack for Victorian families and carers of school aged NDIS participants.
You can also find NDIS information and resources on the Every Australian Counts website.
Protecting your child and family
- Check the current restriction levels in Victoria
- COVID-19 testing is free and available across Victoria – if you or your child have any symptoms, get tested. In-home testing is now available for people with disability who cannot get to a testing site. Call the Coronavirus hotline 1800 675 398
- The Royal Children’s Hospital has COVID-19 health information in English and community languages
- All Victorians aged 12 and over must wear a face covering when they leave home but there are some exceptions for people with disability
- You may be able to buy masks and PPE using the Core budget in your child’s NDIS Plan
- The latest PPE advice for Disability Support Workers is that they should wear and supply their own mask and goggles or face shield when supporting your child
Taking care of yourself
If you start to feel overwhelmed, talking about it early can help. Support is available over the phone and online:
Easy English and social stories
- Easy English guide to the current restrictions
- Wearing a mask social story
- Having my temperature checked at school social story
- Getting a COVID-19 test social story