Daycare to remain closed as buses return to work

BUSES run by Goodstart Early Learning resumed operating yesterday after a suspension caused by the tragic death of a three-year old boy at their Edmonton daycare.

The pick-up and drop-off services are now back in effect with new safety policies, though the Edmonton daycare centre remains closed.

A Goodstart spokeswoman said the decision to reopen the centre following the tragedy had not been made yet.

"Families attending the centre have been offered alternatives at other nearby Goodstart centres and many have taken up this offer," she said.

Goodstart Early Learning Centre in Edmonton.
Goodstart Early Learning Centre in Edmonton.

New safety measures have been introduced after a review by Goodstart's national Safe Work team.

There will now be extra staff on the bus to check it is empty at the end of a route and to double-check the school roll to ensure all are accounted for.

Chief executive Julia Davison said the organisation took its responsibilities for the safety of children extremely seriously and constantly reviewed and updated policies and procedures with regular staff training.

"We don't know why a senior staff member - who had received significant training and recent reminders about bus safety - apparently disregarded procedures.

A floral tribute for a three-old-boy who died in a daycare mini-bus at Edmonton on February 18th is seen at Hambledon State School.
A floral tribute for a three-old-boy who died in a daycare mini-bus at Edmonton on February 18th is seen at Hambledon State School.

"We had very strong procedures in place and now we are moving to strengthen them even further."

Ms Davison said their thoughts were with the little boy's family.

"In the past 10 years we have cared for almost half a million children and we have never had a death of a child in our care and it has hit us really hard …" she said.

"We are no closer to understanding why the robust policies and procedures on bus safety appear to have been ignored on February 18 …" she said.

Goodstart Early Learning chief executive Julia Davison.
Goodstart Early Learning chief executive Julia Davison.

Goodstart Early Learning Edmonton centre director Michael Glenn Lewis, 45, and staff member Dionne Batrice Grills, 34, from Manunda, were charged with manslaughter. They appeared in Cairns Magistrates Court last week and were granted bail. Both cases were adjourned until March 18.

NEW MEASURES

There are now three clearly designated roles in the new bus procedure: Driver, Supervisor and Checker.

The staff member who has the Supervisor role on the bus is now required to sit at the back of the bus for the whole journey and check the bus is empty as they move towards the door

A centre-based Checker will inspect the bus upon its return to the centre, double-check the roll and check off the children and observe adherence to procedure by the Driver and Supervisor. Once the children are returned to the Centre the Checker will take photographs to show the bus is empty and then upload them to iAuditor.



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