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: 2:47 Pm, 3 July 2020

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

The ACT government is taking measures to prevent the spread and minimise the risk of the COVID-19. A dedicated website with information about the health and economic response to the pandemic in the ACT is available at www.covid19.act.gov.au.

The ACT has opened COVID-19 GP Respiratory Clinics and expanded testing to include anyone with COVID-19 symptoms. Find out more

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 covid-19 helpline on (02) 6207 7244 – operating daily 8 am to 8 pm.


Overview

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

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.

On the advice of the ACT government, most of our programs and services are continuing to run, with increased hygiene and social practices. More information about specific services can be found below.

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).

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 our community.


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

The most important preventive strategies to reduce the risk of infection and limit the possible spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) are basic 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 (PHYSICAL) Distancing

  • Avoid close contact with others – replace handshakes and hugs with waves and elbow bumps
  • Maintain 1.5-2 metres (4-6 feet) distance between yourself and others

Find out more about coronavirus and preventive measures here.


How is Communities@Work managing the current situation?

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

  • Implementing increased hygiene practices and social (physical) 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, entryways, toilets and kitchens

We continue to monitor the situation and take the advice of regulatory and government authorities to ensure we are proactive where possible and responsive when needed.

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), and we will update this 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


Communities@Work Children’s Services

The Government has advised that 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 all continuing to operate.

Thank you for your understanding, support and patience during this time. 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.


Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package

Free child care through the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package ends on July 12, 2020. This means that Early Education and Care (Child Care and Education Centres), Family Day Care and in Home Care, and Out of School Hours Care (Before and After School Care) will be free until July 12, 2020, including the first week of the school holiday programs 6-12 July. Fees will apply from July 13, supported by the Child Care Subsidy. More information  can be found on our COVID-19 Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package Page .

If you have any questions or need help at any stage, please call our Children’s Services Enrolments Team on 1300 212 273 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday or email enrolments@commsatwork.org


Support for Families Experiencing Hardship

We know these are tough times and we want you to know that we are here for you. It’s times like these that we all need to support each other and reach out for support when we need a hand. We might not have all the answers, but we promise to listen and support you as best we can. We have a range of services to support families in need. Please speak to the manager of your service or centre or contact us if you are struggling or need support.

The government also has a range of financial and other support available, and we encourage you to review these:

The ACT Government has a range of support options available to Canberrans, including specific support for those impacted by COVID-19. To find out more, please visit www.act.gov.au/assistance

Services Australia has information on their website about financial and support options for families. To find out more, please visit www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/subjects/coronavirus-covid-19-and-how-we-may-help


School Holiday Programs

Communities@Work is continuing to provide our School Holiday Programs as recommended by the ACT Education Directorate and Health officials.

Our highest priority is the children’s health and well being, and the health and well being of our staff. Families/guardians will be contacted directly about any changes.

Daily highlights for each of our 10 locations across Canberra for our July School Holiday programs, information on booking, and other relevant details are available on this page.

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

Book July School Holiday Programs

July School Holiday Programs FAQs


Child Care and Education Centres

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

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. Please contact your service directly for more information. If there are any changes, families/guardians will be informed directly.

Please contact our Children’s Services Enrolment Team as soon as possible if you need to cancel or modify your bookings.

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) 

Communities@Work has proudly partnered with the Canberra Relief Network to continue to support the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our community.

Communities@Work community food pantries are now collection points for Canberra Relief Network food hampers. Our existing pantry clients can register with us and pick up their first hamper from one of our pantries. Further hampers will need to organised by calling the Canberra Relief Network. New clients in need of essential supplies can register with the Network by calling 1800 43 11 33 and arrange to pick up their hamper from our Tuggeranong or Gungahlin Community Centres or to discuss their access needs.

Our community pantries are open 9 am to 3 pm Monday to Friday, operating with increased social and hygiene practices.

Canberra Relief Network: is a collaboration of community service organisations, supported by the ACT Government, and has been set up in response to the sudden and overwhelming demand for food and non-perishable household essentials items as a result of the COVID-19 situation. 

Food Donations: Communities@Work would also appreciate any donations for our community food pantries 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.

Crisis Support: We are continuing to help people experiencing hardship with crisis support, including medical scripts (capped), bus tickets, phone charging, shower packs, food for people who are ‘sleeping rough and information and referrals to other support services in Canberra.

Our Best Dressed Shop and the Clothing Program are temporarily closed due to the current COVID-19 emergency. 

During this downtime, it may be a perfect time for you to sort through your wardrobe and set aside some clothing you no longer use. We will let you know when our collection points are open once more to accept these donations.

Meanwhile, you can still donate essential items including food and hygiene products at our Tuggeranong and Gungahlin Community Centres.

If you or anyone you know is struggling, you can refer to our Helping through Hardship video series and Get in Touch with us.

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 being continually monitored and we are adapting to the changing environment.

We have postponed all centre-based activities at Holder and Ngunnawal until further notice.

We will restart centre-based activities when advised it is safe to do so.  In the meantime, we continue to keep all our clients and carers informed with regular updates.

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

Clients/Carers will be informed directly of any relevant changes. For more specific information, please 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

Seniors Assisted Shopping

To help seniors in the Canberra community shop for their essential supplies, we are offering assisted shopping trips twice a day on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. We will take a small number of clients to the grocery store (Gungahlin Woolworths and Mawson Woolworths):
  • 7:30 am – 9 am OR 11 am – 12:30 pm.
  • Two staff members will assist with shopping.
  • Each client will be taken to and from home.
  • No limit to how many times you go.
  • Ongoing until advised otherwise.
TO BOOK: contact our transport line 6126 9090.
This service is available even if you’re not registered with us. We can do an over the phone registration and then book you in.
Please note that we are following the COVID-19 screening questions prior to transport of clients, and are implementing social distancing measures during the transport.
For information on other initiatives to keep our seniors engaged and stay connected with them during this time of COVID-19, please visit our Programs for Seniors page.

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 continually 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.
  • The Malkara July School Holiday programs will be running with increased hygiene and social practices. The July calendar can be found here.

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

Please visit the Galilee School Guardians and Community Resources page for the latest advice on Galilee School and information on the school’s remote learning strategy, learning plan and other important resources.

Students, families or guardians will be contacted directly if the situation changes. Please contact the school directly for any questions or concerns. You can also contact Galilee School via Messenger on their Facebook Page.

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) has adapted to fit the needs of the changing COVID-19 situation with the health and safety of our students, trainers and employers remaining our priority.

Since March 23, 2020, CPLE have cancelled all face to face training events as well as workplace visits, until advised it is safe to resume.

  • Our team are fully remote capable and continue to support students online via Canvas, phone, email and live and pre-recorded online webinar sessions using the Zoom and Loom platforms.
  • Trainers remain in contact with students and are accessible via phone, email and video conferencing options.

The Graduation Ceremony set for May 2020 has been postponed, and a new date for the same will be advised in due course.

For the moment, all Professional Development Calendar events for the month of April have been cancelled. CPLE will continue to monitor the situation on a monthly basis and advise of upcoming session status accordingly.

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

Phone: 02 6293 6220
Email: cple@commsatwork.org

Get in Touch


Advice Regarding Isolation

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

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.

For tips on things to do while at home, visit our community resources page.


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).

The ACT has opened COVID-19 GP Respiratory Clinics and expanded testing to include anyone with COVID-19 symptoms. Find out more

You can also call your GP or call Healthdirect on 1800 022 222

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


Mental Health

We understand that 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 having strong feelings of worry, or are struggling to cope it is important to seek support. Please visit the ACT health page for information on available support services.


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.

Stay in touch with us and engage with the community on our Facebook page.

For a range of resources, information and advice to help living during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, visit our community resources page.

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