Managing illness in schools - information for parents and carers 

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 your child is unwell, even with the mildest of symptoms, they must stay home.

  • If a child becomes unwell during the day, they should be collected from early childhood education and care (ECEC) or 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 24-hour COVID-19 Hotline 1800 675 398
  • call your child’s general practitioner (GP)
  • call Nurse on Call 1300 606 024

3.  Your child can be tested with a rapid antigen test at home, or a PCR test. They must stay at home until they receive a negative result and their symptoms have resolved.

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 table**

5.  A medical certificate is not needed, but may be helpful if your child:

  • has ongoing symptoms due to underlying conditions such as hay fever or asthma**
    • If their symptoms are usual for their condition, they can keep going to ECEC or school.
    • A medical certificate describing their condition can help ECEC and schools better know your child’s health and care plans.
  • is younger (pre-school up to Grade 2) and has ongoing symptoms after a viral illness
    • Children can still have a cough or runny nose after recovering from some common viral illnesses – if they are otherwise well, they can go to ECEC or school.
    • Your ECEC or school might ask for a medical certificate from their GP to make sure your child is otherwise well.
  • Remember: if your child’s symptoms are different or worse than usual, they should stay at home, get tested for COVID-19 again, and seek health advice.

6.  If your child has a positive COVID-19 test, they must stay at home:

Further information

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

** Please also see our LPS Forms Page for Rhinitis (Hay Fever), Asthma and other Medical Forms

Reviewed 02 August 2022


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