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School, preschool, OSHC and vacation care operations

(This page was last updated 28 September 2021).

The Department for Education provides schools, preschools, children’s centres and OSHC providers with advice to manage the impact of COVID-19.

COVID safe measures mean some school and preschool activities may need to operate differently. The department recognises that there is no one size fits all approach as every school and preschool is different.

 Principals and directors are best placed to make local decisions and have the discretion to adjust activities and operations according to the requirements of their school, preschool or children’s centre with support from the department.  

Attendance during COVID-19

Your child should attend school or preschool as normal unless your child:

  • is self-isolating as directed by SA Health
  • is waiting for results of a COVID-19 test
  • is unwell.

Your child may also not be able to attend school based on the advice of their medical practitioner because they:

  • have a chronic health condition or compromised immune system
  • live in a household with others who are deemed vulnerable to COVID-19.

In these circumstances parents must provide permission for department staff to share relevant information with the child’s medical practitioner. This professional advice will help school and specialist support staff from the department to work with families to ensure the child is supported to access the most appropriate approved learning program.

Approved learning programs include:

All decisions will be based on:

  • current SA Health and department advice
  • local circumstances.

We appreciate your understanding during this challenging time.

Face masks in schools, preschools and children’s centres

Face masks must be worn by:

  • students in year 8 and above should carry a mask with them and wear it indoors – and where congregating (ie canteen)
  • adults while indoors, except when teaching or engaging with students
  • staff in meeting rooms when present with other adults, and not eating and drinking
  • on school buses and public transport
  • all adult visitors to sites, including Early Childhood Education.

The following exemptions from face mask use apply:

  • primary school students
  • any student who attends a disability setting
  • Early Childhood Education and Care staff and children
  • staff when teaching or engaging with students
  • during PE lessons
  • all staff and students when outside
  • students or staff who have a medical condition, such as problems with their breathing, a serious skin condition on the face, a disability, or a mental health condition.

Advice from Professor Nicola Spurrier, Chief Public Health Officer

Read the advice of the Chief Public Health Officer, Professor Nicola Spurrier (PDF 3.3MB).

Mask supplies

Either cloth or surgical masks can be worn by adults and students.

Supplies of surgical masks have been sent to all public children’s centres, preschools and schools.

Visit SA Health's website for guidance on how to wear a face mask and disposal of face masks.

List of Support Services

Maintaining your wellbeing at this time of uncertainty is very important.

Some useful links include:

Stay informed

More information

Visit www.covid-19.sa.gov.au  for the most up to date information from South Australian government agencies about COVID-19.

You can call the South Australia COVID-19 Information Line on 1800 253 787 (8am to 8pm, 7 days a week).

Follow us on Facebook for latest advice: Department for Education, South Australia Facebook page .

COVID-19 (coronavirus) Team

Emaileducation.covidcoordination [at] sa.gov.au