Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Advice

There is an outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus called COVID-19. Communities@Work has implemented our management plan and is closely monitoring the situation, following advice from ACT Health. The health and well-being of our clients, employees, and volunteers is of our highest priority.

Last Updated: 11:45 AM, 27 March 2020


COMMUNITIES@WORK SERVICES ARE OPERATING*

*Please review information for specific programs and services below. 


Latest News on Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Canberra and ACT

There is currently a global outbreak of Coronavirus Disease-19 (COVID-19) which has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation.

Life as we know it has changed in many ways, and understandably it is affecting the mental health and wellbeing of many in the community. If you are having very strong feelings of worry, unease or fear and you are struggling to cope it is important to seek support. Please visit the ACT health page for information on available support services.

Several restrictions are also in place and the ACT government is taking measures to prevent the spread and minimise the risk of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The ACT Government has advised that our Early Childhood Education and Care services should remain open. This means that our Child Care and Education Centres, Outside School Hours Care (Before and After School Care and School Holiday Programs), Family Day Care and In Home Care are continuing to operate.

Our services play a vital role in ensuring that individuals who deliver essential services, such as health workers, education workers, aged care workers and critical public service workers can continue to do their vital work. Families have also been advised by the ACT Government that schools will cater for families who are unable to care for their children at home, as well as vulnerable children and those with additional needs.

We are aware that families may still have questions, and we have endeavored to answer your questions in this letter, sent to families on March 24, 2020 (pdf download). 

We thank the Canberra community for your understanding and patience during this challenging time. The uncertainty of this situation is difficult, and we will continue to be in contact with new information and updates as they become available.

The health and well-being of our staff and clients is our top priority, and we will advise staff, clients and other stakeholders directly if the situation changes.

We will update this page regularly, and we advise you to refer to the ACT Health page for updates and advice as well.


If you have any questions, you can call the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 for further information on COVID-19. The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Overview

Communities@Work is taking a highly precautionary approach to managing the evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, and the health and well-being of our staff and clients is our highest priority.

On the latest advice from government, all of our programs and services are running, with increased hygiene and social practices. This page will be updated regularly and we will advise employees, volunteers and clients if the situation changes.

Communities@Work provides a broad range of services to the Canberra community, with many provided to vulnerable people. We have a role to play as part of broader community efforts. We take our commitment to the Canberra community very seriously, and aim to ensure that we are able to continue to provide our essential community services in the face of this unprecedented crisis impacting the Canberra region.

If you would like to help the vulnerable and disadvantaged people in the Canberra community at this time, you can donate essential items to our community pantry.

Please contact us if you have any questions. 


 

What is Coronavirus (COVID-19) and What are Its Symptoms?

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that can cause mild illness, such as the common cold and gastrointestinal infections – fever and respiratory symptoms, including cough, sore throat and shortness of breath; as well as more severe illness, such as pneumonia with severe acute respiratory distress.

There is currently an outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus named COVID-19.

For most people, the illness will be mild or moderate and individuals can make a full recovery. However, some members of the community are more vulnerable.

Severe disease and mortality are more common among older people and those with comorbidities (additional health conditions). For this reason, seniors are identified as a group at increased risk from COVID-19.

The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads from person to person through droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Good hygiene practices are the most effective way to reduce your risk of contacting COVID-19.

Limiting infection and spread of COVID-19 is not just important for your health, but also for the health of the community.


Good Practices to Prevent the Spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The most important preventive strategies to reduce the risk of infection and limit possible spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) are simple social and hygiene behaviours.

Good Hygiene Practices

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Wash for at least 20 seconds and make sure your hands are dried well afterwards. Alternatively, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
  • Cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue and dispose of it; or cover with the crook of your elbow. Then wash hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
  • Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • When people sneeze or cough, the virus can be transmitted onto surfaces such as door handles. Wiping these surfaces with a disinfecting wipe before use, washing hands after touching them, and not using your hands to open doors can help reduce risk.

Social Distancing

  • Avoid close contact with others – replace handshakes and hugs with waves and elbow bumps
  • Maintain at least 2 metres (6 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing

Find out more about coronavirus and preventive measures here.


How is Communities@Work managing the current situation?

Communities@Work has developed a comprehensive Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Plan and we are taking sensible measures to slow the spread of the virus and also reduce the burden on our health system. These measures include:

  • Implementing increased hygiene practices and social distancing measures, as detailed above
  • Monitoring staff and client travel
  • Increasing our cleaning protocols across all our sites, with an increased focus on highly trafficked/high touch areas, including doors, handles, entry ways, toilets and kitchens

We are actively monitoring the situation and taking the advice of regulatory and government authorities to ensure that we are proactive where possible and responsive when needed.

We also understand that the uncertainty of this situation can be difficult to cope with. Please follow the advice from the World Health Organisation and know that Communities@Work will do our very best to support you during these challenging times.

If you are unwell, please consult your health provider and follow their advice. You should also refer to the latest advice from ACT Health. 

Communication

The changing nature of the situation and conditions requires active monitoring to ensure we make informed decisions and communicate them in a timely manner.  In the case of a change to a service or program, clients will be contacted directly (if possible), we will update this page, and post on the Communities@Work Facebook Page.

Contact Us

If you have any questions, please contact the program or service directly. If you are having any trouble making contact the program, please contact our main switch.

Phone: (02) 6293 6500
Emailadmin@commsatwork.org
Get in Touch

We will continue to provide updates on this page as the situation changes, and will contact clients and other stakeholders directly when required.


Children’s Services

The ACT Government has advised that our Early Childhood Education and Care services should remain open. This means that our Child Care and Education Centres, Outside School Hours Care (Before and After School Care and School Holiday Programs), Family Day Care and In Home Care will continue to operate.

Our services play a vital role in ensuring that individuals who deliver essential services, such as health workers, education workers, aged care workers and critical public service workers can continue to do their vital work. Families have also been advised by the ACT Government that schools will cater for families who are unable to care for their children at home, as well as vulnerable children and those with additional needs.

We are aware that families may still have questions, and we have endeavored to answer your questions in this letter, sent to families on March 24, 2020.

We thank the Canberra community for your understanding and support during this challenging time. This is a fast-moving situation, and we ask for your patience as we work through it together.

We also thank our dedicated educators and staff who are going over and above to keep the community functioning and deliver essential services to the Canberra community.

We will continue to contact families directly with new information as they become available, and if you have any questions, please contact our Children’s Services Enrolment Team on 1300 212 273 or email enrolments@commsatwork.org


Communities@Work School Holiday Programs

Communities@Work are committed to providing our School Holiday Programs as recommended by the Directorate and Health officials. Please be aware that, due to the current COVID-19 situation we will not be offering incursions or excursions within the program, however we will be working hard to deliver an engaging fun-filled program. This means that all school holiday program activities will be in-service.

Our highest priority is the children’s health and well being, and the health and well being of our staff.

More specific advice on the school holiday programs will be provided in the coming days. Continue following this page along with the school holiday programs page for regular updates. Families/guardians will also be contacted directly about any changes.

If you have any questions or need help, please contact our Children’s Services Enrolments Team, 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

Phone: 1300 212 273
Emailenrolments@commsatwork.org

Get in Touch


Child Care and Education Centres

All of Communities@Work’s Child Care and Education Centres are operating, with increased hygiene and social practices, until otherwise advised.

Families/guardians will be contacted directly if there are any issues that require us to change or close a service.

If you have any questions or need help, please contact your centre directly. If you are having any trouble contacting the program, please contact our main switch.

Phone: (02) 6293 6500
Emailadmin@commsatwork.org

Get in Touch


Family Day Care and In-home Care

Playgroups have been cancelled until further notice.

Other family day care and in-home care services are operating with increased hygiene and social practices, unless advised otherwise by your educator. Please contact your service directly for more information. If you are having any trouble making contact, please contact our main switch.

Phone: (02) 6293 6500
Emailadmin@commsatwork.org

Get in Touch


Out of School Hours Care

Our before and after school care services are operating with increased hygiene and social practices, until otherwise advised. Please contact your service directly for more information. In case of any changes, families/guardians will be informed directly. If you are having any trouble making contact, please contact our main switch.

Phone: (02) 6293 6500
Emailadmin@commsatwork.org

Get in Touch


Social Programs (Community Pantry, Clothing Program, Best Dressed Store, and Housing) 

Some vulnerable members of our community are having difficulty accessing food and everyday items. We have also experienced a reduction in donations from the community due to the recent panic buying.

Communities@Work would appreciate any donations and we have a list of required items that can be downloaded here.  Donations will be accepted at our Tuggeranong and Gungahlin community centres, and several shopping centres in Canberra. We also accept delivery of online orders. Please visit our donate essentials page to find out more and help support the vulnerable and disadvantaged people in our Canberra community. 

Our community pantries are open 9 am to 3 pm Monday to Friday, operating with increased social and hygiene practices.  Our pantries help people experiencing hardship with free and discounted food, assistance paying for medical scripts* (*capped) and other services, including information and referrals to other support services in Canberra.

Our Best Dressed Shop and the Clothing Program will suspend all operations for now due to the current COVID-19 emergency and the need to keep people safe.  This change is in effect immediately.

Come in at our Tuggeranong or Gungahlin community centres and chat to us about what you need. We are here to help.

If you have any questions or need help, please contact our Social Programs Team, 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

Phone: (02) 6293 6500
Emailadmin@commsatwork.org

Get in Touch


Seniors Centres, In-Home Support and Transport Services

Communities@Work’s Seniors Centre Programs, In-home support and Transport services are continuously being monitored and while operating with increased hygiene and social practices, we are continuing to adapt our programs to the changing environment.

As we adapt to the ever changing COVID-19 landscape and maintain the safety of clients and staff, Communities@Work will be postponing our centre activities at Holder and Ngunnawal until further notice. 

We are hoping that we will be able to restart centre activities in May/June and will continue to monitor and review the likelihood of this outcome.  In the meantime, we will continue to keep all our clients/carers informed and will be keeping in weekly contact to provide updates.

Our in-home and transport services are currently operating as usual with increased social and hygiene practices, until otherwise advised, noting that many clients are choosing to self-isolate.  Please note that we’ve implemented screening questions and will avoid any non-essential visits.

Clients/Carers will also be informed directly of any relevant changes. For more specific information, please directly get in touch with the Lifestyle Services team, between 9 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday.

Phone: (02) 6293 6500
Email: lifestyle.services.exchange@commsatwork.org

Get in Touch


Disability Programs

Our Disability programs are operating with increased hygiene and social practices.  Clients/carers will be contacted directly as there are any changes in the emerging COVID-19 situation. We’re continuously monitoring the situation and adapting our programs to the changing environment.

  • Our modified in-centre programs are currently operating per the recently revised program calendars.
  • We are reviewing  our centre spaces to ensure that we are meeting the current small group social distancing requirements.
  • There are currently no changes to the Malkara School Holiday programs, as these comprise indoor activities, or activities that are not impacted by the COVID-19 situation. Any changes to this will be advised.

We will continue to modify our activities daily to meet the challenge of the current situation.  Our focus still remains on providing safe skill-building activities to all our clients

If you have any questions or need help, please contact the facilitator of your program directly, or contact our Disability Team, 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday on the details below.

Phone: (02) 6293 6500
Email:
Young Adults and Teens – disability@commsatwork.org
Malkara – malkara@commsatwork.org

Get in Touch


Galilee School

On Monday 23 March, The ACT Minister for Education and Early Childhood announced that from Tuesday 24 March 2020 all ACT Public Schools will go pupil free until the school holidays, due to begin on Friday 10 April 2020.

On this advice, Galilee School will enter into a period of ‘student free days’. Galilee School will remain open for those families and carers to send their young person to school where they need to. Students attending will be offered a modified school program.

COVID-19 remote learning strategy – pdf download

Galilee School Student Free Plan (Academic Engagement, Social and Emotional Support) – pdf download

Galilee School is operating with increased hygiene and social practices. Students, families or guardians will be contacted directly in case the situation changes. Please contact the school directly for any questions or concerns.

If you are having any trouble making contact, please contact our main switch.

Phone: (02) 6293 6500
Emailadmin@commsatwork.org

Get in Touch


Centre of Professional Learning and Education 

The Centre of Professional Learning and Education (RTO 88148) is adapting to fit the needs of the changing COVID-19 situation.

The health and safety of our students, trainers and employers remain our priority. As such, CPLE have decided to cancel all face to face training events as well as workplace visits from Monday March 23rd 2020, indefinitely.

  • Our team are fully remote capable and will continue to support our students online via Canvas, phone, and email. CPLE have capacity for live and pre-recorded online webinar sessions using the Zoom and Loom platform and will be using these during this time.
  • Trainers will communicate with students via email and Canvas about study related matters.
  • All students with scheduled classes will directly be contacted by their assigned trainer via email and phone to outline how learning will be facilitated moving forward.
  • The Graduation Ceremony set for May 2020 has been postponed, and a new date for the same will be advised in due course.

Most of the Professional Development Calendar events are currently running as usual, with increased hygiene and social practices, until advised otherwise. The Little Scientists Workshop has been cancelled until further notice.

All clients, trainees and students will be contacted directly with more specific information.

For any questions or concerns, please get in touch with the RTO at:

Phone: 02 6293 6220

Email: cple@commsatwork.org


Advice Regarding Isolation

If you have suspected or confirmed COVID-19, your doctor or other healthcare professional will provide advice on isolation.

Being isolated at home means that you must stay at home. You cannot leave home to go to work, school, or public areas (such as shops, cafes or restaurants), and must not use public transport, rideshare or taxis. Visitors who do not have an essential need to be in your home should not visit while you are in isolation.

Please refer to the Isolation Information provided by ACT Health for the latest information on Home Isolation. 

Isolation is different than quarantine. Please refer to the ACT health website for more information.


Advice if you think you may have contracted Coronavirus (COVID-19) 

Symptoms of COVID-19 include, but are not limited to: fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue and shortness of breath.

ACT Health recommends you to seek medical attention if you experience symptoms within 14 days of overseas travel, following contact with someone who has COVID-19, or if you’re a healthcare worker with direct patient contact (even if you have not recently traveled or had contact with someone who has COVID-19).

Call your GP

Visit the Weston Creek Walk-in Centre

Call Healthdirect on 1800 022 222

Please refer to the advice from ACT Health if you are showing symptoms or have any questions.


Contact Us

If you need any further information on Communities@Work programs and services, or how Communities@Work is managing the current situation, or have any questions, please contact us using the details below.

Tuggeranong Community Centre
245 Cowlishaw St
Greenway ACT 2900

Gungahlin Community Centre
47 Ernest Cavanagh Street
Gungahlin ACT 2912

Phone: (02) 6293 6500
Email: admin@commsatwork.org
Get in Touch


Please follow the ACT Health page for the latest updates and advice.

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