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Managing illness in schools and ECEC - information for parents and carers

Information for parents and carers

One of the most important things we can do to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community is to stay at home when we are unwell, even when we have the mildest of symptoms.

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What you need to know

If a child becomes unwell during the day, they should be collected from early childhood education and care (ECEC)/school as soon as possible.

2. If your child has any symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) below, however mild, they should get tested for COVID-19:

  • fever
  • chills or sweats
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • shortness of breath
  • runny nose
  • loss of sense of smell or taste.

Some people may also have headache, muscle soreness, stuffy nose, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. For more health advice:

  • call the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398
  • call your child’s general practitioner (GP)
  • call Nurse on Call 1300 606 024

If you can’t get a rapid antigen test or if you’re still worried about your child, you can find and go to a testing site for a PCR test. Some testing sites have rapid antigen tests as well.

Find advice about getting tested, as well as parent and carer information about rapid antigen testing.

4. If your child has a negative COVID-19 test and their symptoms have resolved, they can return to ECEC or school.

You don’t need written medical clearance from COVID-19.

There are illnesses other than COVID-19 where your child must stay at home for a certain amount of time – these are listed on the Department of Health ECEC and school exclusion tableExternal Link .

Follow the checklist for people with COVID-19External Link .

If a rapid antigen test at home is positive, you are recommended to report the result as soon as you can so your family can start getting advice and help:

Answer texts and surveys from the Department of Health.

You may be able to get financial helpExternal Link or other support to look after your family safely at home.

6. If your child tests negative to COVID-19 but lives in a household with a positive COVID-19 case, follow the advice for COVID contacts for your child.

Follow the advice for COVID contacts

It is recommended your child is tested for at least 7 days following your last contact with the person who has COVID-19 using a rapid antigen test or a PCR test.

It is recommended your child remain home if they are unwell or have symptoms.

Further information

This advice has been prepared by the Department of Education and Training and the Department of Health.

Reviewed 26 October 2022

Coronavirus Hotline

Call the National Coronavirus Helpline if you have any questions about COVID-19.

Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only.

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