Stay at home when you are unwell

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

What you need to know


1. If a child is unwell, even with the mildest of symptoms, they must stay at home

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


2. If a child has any of the symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) outlined below, however mild, they should get tested and they must remain at home until they receive their results*:


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

In certain circumstances headache, muscle soreness, stuffy nose, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea may also be considered symptoms.


For further advice:


  • call the 24-hour COVID-19 Hotline 1800 675 398
  • call a general practitioner
  • visit Getting Tested for further information on where to get tested.


3. Once a child has had a confirmed negative COVID-19 test and their symptoms have resolved, they can return to ECEC/school. A medical certificate is not required, however may be helpful in following circumstances:


  • Children with persistent symptoms due to underlying conditions such as hay fever or asthma whose symptoms are clearly typical of their condition can continue to attend ECEC/school. They should be tested for COVID-19 if they develop symptoms that are different to or worse than their usual symptoms. They should consider getting a medical certificate** from their GP to attend ECEC/school if they have persistent symptoms that may overlap with symptoms of COVID-19 such as cough or runny nose. Written medical clearance for COVID-19 is not required.

  • Younger children (pre-school up to Grade 2) may have prolonged post viral symptoms such as a runny nose or cough and may return to ECEC/school following a negative COVID-19 test even if they are not completely free of symptoms. Where symptoms persist, an ECEC/school may request a medical certificate** to confirm the child is otherwise well or has recovered from their acute illness. Written medical clearance for COVID-19 is not required.

For information on the minimum periods students and children need to stay at home for other conditions, refer to the DH school exclusion table.


4. If a child has tested positive for COVID-19, has been identified as a close contact, or has otherwise been advised to self-quarantine, e.g. they have visited a public exposure site, they must isolate/quarantine until they receive written medical clearance from the Department of Health (DH).


This advice has been prepared by the Department of Education and Training, Safer Care Victoria and the Department of Health

* Please send a copy of your child's COVID-19 test result to
** Please also see our LPS Forms Page for Rhinitis (Hay Fever) and other Medical Forms



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