Managing a confirmed case of COVID-19 in early childhood education and care services

Process to follow if there's a confirmed case of COVID-19 at your early childhood service, and steps you can take now to prepare.

While services are implementing risk mitigation strategies, you should be prepared in the unlikely event a child or staff member has a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Process for closing

Below is an outline of the process should this occur, and steps you can take now to prepare.

1. The Department of Health will notify the service of a confirmed case

The Department of Health will notify the service of a confirmed case of COVID-19 and will advise if the service needs to close or can remain operating.

Should you become aware of a case directly from parents or staff/contractor, please contact the Department of Health and advise the Department of Education’s Quality Assessment and Regulation Division (QARD) through the National Quality Agenda IT System (NQA ITS) or call 1300 307 415.

2. Service will inform families

While services will manage communications with families, resources to assist services with initial communication have been developed with the Department of Health (DH), including a template letter for families and FAQs.

Download the communication pack for early childhood services in case of closure for advice and messages to respond to your community.

3. Lodge a notification through the NQAITS

Services are requested to lodge a notification through the National Quality Agenda IT System (NQA ITS) or call 1300 307 415.

4. Arrange a deep clean

Services arrange a deep clean. Detailed advice is available below about cleaning and disinfecting after a confirmed case of COVID-19 has been identified at a service. This advice has been developed by DH.

The technical information should be provided to cleaners contracted to clean services.

Cleaning and disinfecting after a confirmed case of COVID-19 factsheet.

5. Update your emergency contact details

Please make sure you have up-to-date emergency contact details in the National Quality Agenda IT System (NQA ITS).

These details will be used if the Department of Education and Training or DH need to contact the service after hours.

Scope of closures

A majority of early childhood education and care (ECEC) services have operated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

If your service is directed to close as a preventative measure, you'll be advised directly and given detailed advice to support you through this process.

If individual services are closed, they'll be listed on Emergency closures.

Reporting a closure

If your service closes, you're required to report the closure to the regulatory authority.

Actions for services under the Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010 (National Law)

All services, including family day care, are required to notify the regulatory authority within 24 hours of any incident that requires the approved provider to close or reduce the number of children attending the service for a period.

You need to lodge a notification through the National Quality Agenda IT System (NQA ITS) within 24 hours of closure.

Actions for services operating under the Children's Services Act 1996 (Children's Services Act)

Services must advise the Regulatory Authority of service closure.

Email within 48 hours of closure.

Strengthened process for monitoring COVID-19 close contacts

The spread of COVID-19 occurs through close contact with an infected person, mostly face-to-face or within a household.

A primary close contact is:

  • someone who has had face-to-face contact or spent time in a closed space with someone who has COVID-19 while they were infectious
  • someone who has attended an exposure site as listed on the DH website.

Refer to the DH factsheet for close contacts for more information.

Self-isolating as a close contact

Where a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19 is identified at your service, they are required to quarantine at home and not return to your service or any other ECEC service for 14 days from last contact with the confirmed case. DH will advise the quarantine period.

In addition, close contacts are required by the DH to undergo testing on or about day 13 of the quarantine period. Where the close contact refuses to get tested on day 13, they will remain in quarantine for a total of 28 days from their last exposure to the virus.

In some cases, the DH may direct secondary contacts (that is, close or household contacts of close contacts) to quarantine for the same time period as the close contact. DH will advise household members of close contacts if any action is required.

Reviewed 18 July 2021

Coronavirus Victoria

24/7 Coronavirus Hotline

If you suspect you may have COVID-19 call the dedicated hotline – open 24 hours, 7 days.

Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only.

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