Stop the 7-day COVID isolation for young children in care and education in ACT

Stop the 7-day COVID isolation for young children in care and education in ACT

107 have signed. Let’s get to 200!
Petition to
Yvette Berry (Minister for Education) and

Why this petition matters

Started by Concerned Parents

Babies, toddlers and preschool children in the ACT are isolating as often as every second week, as a result of the strict and unrealistic guidelines provided by ACT Health and managed by ACT Education. It is time to balance the risk of the need for kids to stay connected and engaged, and for educators and families to protect their livelihoods.

These guidelines require children who have had high-risk exposure to isolate for 7 days. High exposure is determined using an assessment table with such requirements as the infected case needing to wear a mask (not necessary nor advised for children), having unclear and unreasonable constraints on time spent inside, or rooms of significant size (not practicable in small centres). 

These isolating children aren't allowed to leave the house for any reason. Not for a walk to the park. Not to attend preschool. They miss out on their formative years in building friendship, play based learning, experiencing a consistent school routine. This is all while trying to be cared for by parents/guardians who are forced to either work and care, or take leave without pay. This leave needs to be saved for the the possible event of contracting COVID, school holidays, and the other events society experiences and celebrates. 

As of 1 March, some families are in their fourth week of isolation just this year. Some of these families include educators, GPs, healthcare workers, service providers, tradies, small business owners, people with disability, people without any family support, children with disability who now miss out on essential therapy and care - they are people from all walks of life.  Families are under financial pressure, entering unpaid leave, closing businesses, and risking losing their employment.  

Society is adapting to living with COVID, with many restrictions being removed or lessened. Education was seen as paramount for our young people, but this has not been extended to our youngest generation. Why should these innocent little ones be forced to isolate when they test negative and have no symptoms?

This approach is not sustainable. With no 0-5 vaccination in place, no date set or assurance a vaccination will be available, and certainly no suggestion of a mandatory vaccination for 0-5,  many parents are left feeling hopeless and distressed at their children's future until they begin kindergarten, and economically compromised. With no end in sight of cases in this demographic or broader society, these current guidelines will force our youngest generation into continual isolation. Research shows both the low rate of serious illness in this demographic, and the pressure on mental health and development from continually isolating young children. 

Change is needed NOW. 

So what is the solution? We simply ask that the K-12 guidelines for risk assessment be adopted for this cohort. 

107 have signed. Let’s get to 200!