BLOG: ECE opening on trust, not evidence

28 April 2020

ECE opening on trust, not evidence

Or - why the ECC still believes centres should stay closed until level two

Blog from the ECC CEO Peter Reynolds

We agree, the numbers are looking good. The numbers presented by Dr Bloomfield and team continue their downward trend. We should all be reassured that New Zealand's approach is working. And there's a steady stream of stories reassuring parents that it's as safe as ever for them to send their children to ECE and school.

But - when you read the reports this good news is based on, they're inconclusive.

For every assurance by the Director-General of Health; every headline quoting another reputable source claiming children returning to ECE is low risk, we find another outlining the risks are real.

The position that children don’t get COVID-19 are mostly unaffected and therefore cannot pass it on to adults can be challenged. Children can acquire the virus, it can be fatal and no-one can categorically prove today that children can't pass it on to the adults in their bubbles.

I'm concerned there's still a risk, even if it's small, that re-opening ECE services could provide the impetus for COVID-19 to return, with a childcare centre at its epicentre. I hope I’m wrong. But this is why the ECC's view remains that centres should ideally stay closed until Alert Level 2. We just need a bit more time to be sure it's safe.

Yet, the reality is many of our members will open their doors to the children of safe and essential workers tomorrow. An outbreak at one of their centres is unlikely, but possible.

We will continue to put safety first, advocate for our members and support their services with advice, tools and information. We want their re-opening to be as safe as it possibly can be for children, ECE centres and New Zealand.

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