COVID-19 Involved eNews – 12 November 2021
COVID-19 Involved eNews – 12 November 2021
Hello and welcome to INVOLVED eNews
With the ACT reaching more than 95% of the eligible population fully vaccinated – one of the highest levels of vaccination in the world, the next stage of the ACT’s Pathway Forward was brought forward last night, 11:59pm Thursday 11 November 2021.
This means from today there will be no more limits on home visits or informal outdoor gatherings.
- Indoor and outdoor entertainment venues with fixed seating will be able to host events at 100% seated capacity.
- Restrictions on cinemas and swimming pools will be relaxed.
- Organised sport can recommence with 1 per 2 sqm in indoor settings.
- The ACT will move to a default one person per two square metre density limit across most indoor settings and industries, including hospitality and retail.
- No density limits will apply in outdoor spaces for most activities and events will be able to have more people before requiring an exemption.
- Drinking while standing will be permitted at licenced venues, cafes and restaurants.
- Nightclubs can reopen and dancing is back!
Face masks will only be required in high risk settings, such as hospitals and aged care facilities, on public transport, and in schools and some businesses settings. However, wearing a face mask is a simple and practical way to minimise transmission of the virus, and the Government will be encouraging Canberrans to continuing wearing face masks indoors in crowded settings.
Please refer to the COVID-19 website for further information about the restrictions in place from 12 November 2021.
The Involved eNews will move to being sent on a fortnightly basis, so you will receive the next edition Friday 26 November 2021.
Disability Provider Alert – 8 November
The Department of Health has issued its next COVID-19 vaccination – Disability Provider â¯Alert 8 November 2021.
This provider alert along with other resources and information about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is available from a dedicated web page for disability service providers on the Department of Health website. This page will be updated regularly.
The Department of Health will continue to update the following webpage Information for people with disability about COVID-19 vaccines with any new advice on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
Information for employees that require vaccination
COVID-19 vaccination has become a mandatory condition of employment for some workforces and situations in the ACT. In these situations and under public health directions, people will be required to provide evidence of their COVID-19 vaccination status, or of an authorised exemption to vaccination.
Disability support, in-home and community aged care workers will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 if they deliver services in the ACT that are funded by the:
- National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
- Commonwealth in-home and community age care program, or
- Territory and state governments.
If you work for or deliver one of these services, you are required to have received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccination by 15 November 2021 and a second dose by 13 December 2021.
Further information is available on the ACT COVID-19 website.
Vaccinations for staff in certain education settings
The ACT Government is moving to require full vaccination against COVID-19 for certain staff working across early childhood settings, ACT primary schools, out of school hours care and specialist and flexible education settings for the remainder of 2021.
Under the Chief Health Officer direction, first-dose vaccination will be required by no later than 1 November 2021 and second dose by no later than 29 November 2021.
Further information can be found on the ACT Education Directorate website.
Update on Disability Royal Commission
Latest Public Hearing
On 8 and 9 November, the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability held public hearing 18 which examined the rights of people with disability in Australian law. The hearing analysed the human rights of people with disability and making the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) a reality in Australian law, policies and practices. Senior Counsel said the purpose of the hearing is to understand how the suite of rights set out in the CRPD could be made stronger and more effective to support Australians. Public hearing 18 will build on research reports and the Royal Commission’s work to date addressing the CRPD.
New Disability Royal Commission reports
The Disability Royal Commission published 2 new reports that provide historic insights into the experiences of people with disability in Australia.
Disability in Australia – Shadows, struggles and successes looks at different cultural and social factors that have impacted the lives of people with disability over time.
Agents of our own Destiny – Activism and the road to the Disability Royal Commission is about the disability rights movement and the history of disability activism and advocacy in Australia.
Read together, the reports highlight how hard people with disability, advocates and activists have fought for the same rights as others, and to gain the protections offered by equality, inclusion and justice. They also remind us of how important the outcomes of the Royal Commission will be for hundreds of thousands of Australians with disability.
Inquiry into barriers to open employment continues
The Royal Commission will continue their inquiry into barriers to open employment in Public hearing 19, to be held from 22 to 26 November 2021. This hearing follows on from Public hearing 9 where people with disability shared their experiences of finding and keeping jobs, and transitioning in and out of the work force.
Public hearing 19 will be held virtually, and live streamed on Royal Commission website with Auslan interpreters and captions.
Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is a safe and effective way to protect you from becoming very sick if you catch COVID-19.
Access and Sensory Vaccination Clinic Located at Weston Creek
The Access and Sensory Vaccination Clinic is located at a dedicated space at the Weston Creek Community Health Centre, on a Monday and Tuesday from 8.00am to 3.30pm and is for anyone who would benefit from a quieter environment, additional space, longer appointment time, or those requiring carer assistance, including people with disability, people with mobility limitations and people with mental health conditions.
View a new Access and Sensory Clinic video which walks you through each step of the COVID-19 vaccination appointment process, from arrival to exit, providing a first-hand look ð at what to expect when attending the clinic for a vaccination.
To make a vaccination appointment at the Access and Sensory Clinic, call the ACT COVID-19 vaccination booking line on 5124 7700 (select option 3) between 7am to 7pm, daily.
It’s entirely optional to use the Access and Sensory Clinic and you may wish to make an appointment at a GP or at another ACT Government COVID-19 vaccination clinic to get your COVID-19 vaccination. All ACT Government COVID-19 mass vaccination clinics have disability parking areas and accessible ramps.
Information about COVID-19 vaccinations in the ACT is available on the Information for people with disability page on the COVID-19 website.
ACT Health has developed a social story for students with disability on the COVID-19 vaccination, see COVID-19-vaccination-social-story
Vaccination Webinar for People with Intellectual Disability
The Australian Government Department of Health, supported by Inclusion Australia held a webinar to discuss the importance of getting a COVID-19 vaccine and answer questions from people with intellectual disability and supporters.
A recording of the webinar is now available on the Department of Health website.
In-home (in-reach) COVID-19 Vaccination
If a person with disability feels they may need to be vaccinated in their home because they have significant barriers to accessing other vaccination options, they can contact the ACT vaccination booking line on 02 5124 7700 (choose option 3 for the dedicated disability line).
More information is available on the Advice for People with Disability page of the COVID-19 website.
Priority COVID-19 vaccinations for all disability care workers
The ACT Government is continuing to offer priority COVID-19 vaccinations for all health, aged and disability care workers. This includes, but is not limited to, clinical and non-clinical workers of hospitals, health, age and disability care facilities. Find more information on the ACT COVID-19 vaccination web page.
People with disability can ask for the vaccination status of workers that come to their home or provide support. Workers can disclose their own personal health information and people with disability are able to ask workers for this information before engaging them in service delivery.
If a worker refuses to provide this information, people with disability can choose not to receive their service.
However, a disability service provider cannot reveal the vaccination status of their workers. The COVID-19 vaccination status of a worker is personal health information and must be protected by an employer. That means it can only be shared with the consent of the worker, or under legislation.
COVID-19 vaccines: third doses and booster doses
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) now recommend a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or a booster dose for individuals who meet certain criteria.
It’s important to know that third doses and boosters are different, and the eligibility criteria for each also differ.
For information about a third dose and a booster dose please see the ACT COVID-19 website.
Videos on the Importance of Getting Vaccinated
Down Syndrome Australia has developed a video on the COVID-19 vaccination, in partnership with the Department of Health.
Transport options for vaccination appointments
There is a list of community transport providers on the Community Services Directorate website. These organisations can provide transport to COVID-19 vaccination appointments.
The ACT Taxi Subsidy Scheme (TSS) provides financial assistance to ACT residents with disability or significant mobility restriction that prevent them from using public and community transport. People with disability can access extra trips if COVID-19 restrictions have impacted their ability to renew their TSS applications. Additional trips can be requested by phoning the ACT Revenues Office on 6207 0028 (Select Option 5, Sub Option 1 - Taxi Subsidy Scheme).
Transport options for NDIS Participants
NDIS participants may use their transport funding to attend vaccination appointments.
NDIS participants living in a residential setting of two or more people with disability can be vaccinated at their residence by a vaccination provider, arranged by the Department of Health.
Supported Independent Living (SIL) providers are being supported by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to facilitate COVID-19 vaccinations for their clients, including provision of transport to and from a vaccination clinic, through a fixed price $150 payment.
COVID-19 Testing Sites
You should get tested if you have been notified by ACT Health, if you are a close or casual contact or you have even the most mildest of COVID-19 symptoms.
ACT Health has established a dedicated Access and Sensory testing site at the Garran Surge Centre for people with disability, children and young people with sensory or additional needs, and those who need additional support to undertake a test. Daily hours are 7.30am – 9.00pm.
The Garran Surge Centre also now provides a walk-in testing service for the general public, as the Weston Creek Community Centre has now ceased to be a COVID-19 walk-in testing site.
If you have difficulty accessing a testing site, please call the COVID-19 Helpline. The Helpline operates on 02 6207 7244 between 8am and 8pm daily.
Information about the location of testing sites can be found on the Where to get tested page on the COVID-19 website.
In-home (in-reach) COVID-19 Testing
In addition, people with disability who are unable to attend a testing site can call ACT Health on
5124 6500. ACT Health will talk to the person about their needs and COVID-19 contact status and assess whether they are suitable for in-reach testing. The request is passed on to a team who will schedule the in-reach testing. Depending on demand for this service, a request may not guarantee a test.
Advice from OzSAGE on protecting people with disability from COVID 19
OzSAGE has released papers on protecting people with disability from COVID-19. OzSAGE is a diverse and multi-disciplinary network of independent Australian experts who are an additional resource for governments, non-government stakeholders and the community within Australia. This group of experts formulates independent advice on public health, health systems and other policy matters relevant to COVID-19 control and the well-being of the Australian population during and after the pandemic. On Tuesday 19 October they released a paper on how to keep people with disability safe from COVID19
Resources and supports for families and students with disability
Information and resources are available to support families and students with disability in ACT public schools during the COVID-19 Health Emergency.
Since the start of week 1, Term 4, there has been a phased return to on campus learning in ACT Public Schools.
The ACT Education Directorate have heard lots of questions from the community about arrangements at ACT public schools to keep students and staff safe.
In these videos, Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, Yvette Berry answers your questions and talks to the ACT Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Vanessa Johnston, the ACT Children and Young People Commissioner Jodie Griffiths-Cook, and some of our very own ACT public school students.
They cover a range of topics with some great advice on safety measures, and information about what kids can expect going back to on campus learning.
The ACT Education Directorate also provides links to the following resources:
- COVID-19, physical distancing and children with disability, autism and other conditions
- Supporting children with autism spectrum disorder in the COVID-19 environment
- Parenting children with a disability during COVID-19
- COVID-19 Parenting – Tips for children with disabilities
- Routines and children with disability (0-8 years)
- Podcast – Parenting in a pandemic – Episode 12: Supporting children with diverse needs
- My Coronavirus Story – ASPECT – social story
The Raising Children Network has some useful resources on how to look after yourself and help everyone in the family including for children returning to school after a lockdown and Teenagers returning to school after lockdown and tips and links to navigate the challenges for families in quarantine.
Replay of Imagine More Get That Good Life! Conference
On 28 and 29 October Imagine More hosted the Get That Good Life! Conference.
The two prevailing themes of the Get That Good Life! Conference were:
- Safeguarding the future by building strong and enduring relationships and connections
- Using support to achieve the goals that will ultimately lead to The Good Life.
These themes were explored in the context of:
- the early years
- inclusive education
- employment and microenterprise
- imagining home
- changing our behaviour
Imagine More invite you to register to watch the replay of all sessions for free and on-demand. More information about the conference and to register to watch the replays visit the Imagine More website.
ACT Official Visitors for Disability Services
The role of Official Visitors for Disability Services is to provide independent oversight of services for people with disability who are receiving daily living supports, hear their concerns and help resolve any complaints. The three Official Visitors for Disability Services are Mary Durkin, Rob Woolley and Tracey Gullo. Official Visitors are appointed by the Minister for Human Rights.
In line with the easing of some restrictions in the ACT, and the ability for one or two people to visit houses, the Official Visitors Board has agreed that face-to-face visiting is able to recommence. When we visit, we'll still be adhering to health directions like social distancing and wearing masks, as well as any requirements specific to individual people or residences.
Our concern is always the safety and wellbeing of people living with a disability in ACT and so our visiting practices will reflect the requirements of individual people and their health situation.
There are a number of ways to contact Official Visitors for Disability Services:
- ring 1800 150 036 and follow the prompts (the call will be redirected to one of the Official Visitors for Disability Services). This number can also be used with the National Relay Service.
- fill out the online form
- email firstname.lastname@example.org
Annual NDIS Pricing Review 2021-22 Consultation Paper
The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has released the Annual Price Review Consultation Paper and is seeking feedback about NDIS price limits and policy for the 2022-23 financial year. The NDIA invite providers, participants, community, peak bodies and other sector representatives to submit their responses to the paper.
The Consultation Paper outlines the topics for review, timelines and how to make a submission to the Review. The closing date for submissions is 28 November 2021 and can be lodged either via email email@example.com or post: Annual Pricing Review, NDIA, GPO Box 700, Canberra, ACT, 2601.
PPE information for Disability Support Providers
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) information for ACT Disability Support providers and their workers can be found in this webinar facilitated by National Disability Services: Correct PPE Usage in a COVID Environment Video
- information on PPE requirements from ACT Health
- a live demonstration of donning and doffing PPE
- the correct fitting and fit-testing of the P95 Mask
- an interactive question and answer session
DRC Communication Resource for People with a Hearing Loss
The Deafness Resource Centre (DRC) has created a resource to assist people with a hearing loss to communicate with people wearing COVID-19 face masks.
The resource can be downloaded and saved onto a phone or a device. It is also a print friendly PDF image. You can access the resource on the DRC website.
DRC advise they are committed to supporting you on your hearing loss journey through these difficult times. For more information or to book an appointment call 02 6287 4393 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.actdrc.org.au
No smartphone to check in? No problem!
A Check In CBR card is available for those people who don’t own a smartphone or are unable to download or use the Check In CBR app.
The card contains a unique QR code which can be scanned at all businesses and venues across the ACT that currently accept the Check In CBR app.
Checking in will be faster, easier and with private as there is no need for venue staff to manually enter a customer’s details.
For more information on the Check In CBR card, visit the ACT Government COVID-19 website.
COVID-19 Accessible Information & Social Stories
Easy English documents and videos about COVID-19 have been developed for the ACT by Advocacy for Inclusion and are available on their resources page.
Scope Australia have developed some great communication resources for understanding and staying safe from COVID-19.
Scope Australia also provide communication resources to help you understand, explain, and discuss COVID-19 vaccinations. These resources include Easy English documents and Social Stories. Social Stories are used to help someone better understand a specific social situation or idea.
Autism Spectrum Australia has created a Social Story on returning to school.
ACT Health has also developed a Social Story for students with disability which is available on the COVID-19-vaccination-social-story webpage.
The Australian Government Department of Health has published a range of Easy Read COVID-19 resources on the Department of Health website.
Support provided by advocacy organisations
Both Advocacy for Inclusion and ACT Disability Aged and Carer Advocacy Service (ADACAS) continue to provide individual advocacy for people who need assistance.
Advocacy for Inclusion can assist you by providing short term individual advocacy support.
Phone 6257 4005 or email email@example.com
ADACAS provides individual advocacy and may also be able to offer Supported Decision Making to people who may need some additional assistance in regard to consent for vaccination plus support for people in SIL or other accommodation. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 6242 5060.
COVID-19 Test - Hardship Isolation Payment
Financial support to isolate while waiting for a test result is available through the ACT Government COVID-19 Test Hardship Isolation Payment. A payment of $270 will be made to eligible workers who isolate while awaiting their COVID 19 test result. This payment covers up to three days in isolation. A range of eligibility criteria apply. Apply for the isolation payment here.
People unable to earn an income because they must isolate, quarantine or care for someone with COVID-19, may be able to access the $1,500 Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment from the Australian Government.
Alternative supports are also available for people on visas unable to access the above payments. The Red Cross ACT Migration Support Program Hub on (02) 6234 7695 can assist.
Useful links and websites
You can also call the National Coronavirus and COVID-19 Vaccine Helpline which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 1800 020 080. Contact details are also found here: National coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccine helpline
To connect to disability information and services you can call the National Disability Gateway on 1800 643 787. The Disability Gateway also includes a website at
For emergency respite, you can call your local Carer Gateway Service Provider 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 1800 422 737. Contact details are also found here: Contact Carers ACT
Resources are available regarding face masks including how to put on, wear and dispose of a face mask, and a task schedule to help break down the task of putting on a face mask into smaller steps plus a Social Story from Scope Australia called I must wear a mask
ACT Health has a webpage dedicated to Supporting others and their mental health and wellbeing.
The Australian Red Cross has some tips for staying happy and hopeful.
Queensland Government’s activities for a stronger mental wellbeing resource has many ideas for goals and activities.
Carers ACT – Self-care tips and ideas for carers
If you have any further questions that have not been addressed after reading the ACT Health information, please contact the Office for Disability at email@example.com or 6207 1086.