School, childcare and COVID-19

Use this page to find out:

  • when to keep your child at home from school or childcare
  • when it's OK to send your child to school or childcare
  • when your child can return to school after being tested for COVID-19

If your child has symptoms

If your child has symptoms of COVID-19 they need to:

They do not to get tested unless they:

  • have a condition that puts them at higher risk
  • live with someone who has a weak immune system

Find out when your child may need a test for COVID-19

If your child is aged 3 months or less, phone your GP for advice

When to keep your child at home from school or childcare

Keep your child at home if they:

When it's OK to send your child to school or childcare

It is usually OK to send your child to school or childcare if they:

  • only have nasal symptoms, such as a runny nose or a sneeze, but otherwise feel well
  • are doing antigen tests because of a case of COVID-19 in their class
  • have tested negative and have not had any new symptoms for 48 hours
  • have not had diarrhoea for 48 hours
  • are being tested regularly as part of a programme or because they are in a vulnerable group

Testing for children in school or childcare

You can request free antigen tests for your child if there are cases of COVID-19 in their class.

The tests are only available for children aged 4 or older who are in pre-school, primary school or childcare.

Requesting free tests is up to you. You do not have get your child tested if you don't want to.

Your child's school principal or childcare facility manager can give you the details of a phone number or website to request these tests for your child.

Children who do not have symptoms of COVID-19 should continue to go to school even if they are doing antigen tests.

Read more about antigen tests for children

If your child has a positive test result

If your child tests positive for COVID-19, they need to:

People your child lives with

People your child lives with who are at high risk of illness from COVID-19 should take extra care. There is a higher risk they could get the virus. If they develop symptoms, they should act fast and get a PCR test.

People your child lives with do not need to restrict their movements. But they should take extra care to avoid spreading the virus.

Returning to school or childcare after testing positive

Your child can return to school or childcare when both of these apply:

  • they have not had a high temperature (38 degrees Celsius or over) or other symptoms for 48 hours
  • it has been 7 days since they first developed symptoms

When they stop self-isolating after 7 days, they need to take extra care for another 3 days to reduce the risk of passing COVID-19 on.

To return to school or childcare your child:

  • does not need to do another test
  • does not need to show a negative test result
  • does not need a GP cert or a note from a GP

Children in special education or respite care

If your child is in a special needs school or respite care, a public health doctor will phone you if there is COVID-19 case or outbreak. They will tell you what you and your child need to do.

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Last updated: 27 February 2022 at 6pm