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Testing and isolating for preschool and early childhood settings during COVID-19

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Find out what you need to do if there’s a positive COVID-19 case at your preschool or early childhood service.

If a child or staff member tests positive for COVID-19 they must notify the service. Please do not attend for 5 days if COVID positive. Do not attend the service while symptomatic.

Contact definitions and requirements

For children

This applies to children who attend the site and undertake normal learning and care activities.

The service will inform parents if there has been a positive case of COVID-19.

Classroom contact

A child is a classroom contact if they are in a group or room where the early childhood educator, teacher, worker or another child has tested positive for COVID-19.

If your child is a classroom contact and has no symptoms they are encouraged to continue attending the service (unless they have tested positive).

If your child is a classroom contact and has symptoms they:

  • must not attend the service
  • should be tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible.

For workers at the service

This applies to all people working in early childhood settings, including:

  • early childhood workers
  • educators
  • teachers
  • ancillary staff – for example administrative staff with limited child contact, chefs.

Close contact

Leaders and managers should apply a pragmatic approach to managing who is or is not a close contact when following the testing and isolating process.

A worker is a close contact if they spend a cumulative period of 4 hours indoors, in close physical proximity and not wearing a mask with another adult who has tested positive for COVID-19.

If you’re a close contact you must undertake 5 rapid antigen tests over a 7-period following exposure.

Rapid antigen testing

Rapid antigen testing surveillance for all preschool and early childhood education and care staff is strongly recommended, however it is opt in. If they do opt in, surveillance testing must be done every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A positive result must be reported to SA Health (within 24 hours) via their website and to the site leader.

If recommended to undertake RAT testing or if temporary closure

If you've been recommended to undertake RAT testing or if your service, group or room has been temporarily closed as a circuit breaker in the past week, SA Health's advice for staff and students is to do the following for 7 days:

  • avoid attending OSHC and extra-curricular activities and excursions
  • avoid high risk settings
  • wear a face mask when indoors and on public transport
  • avoid working across worksites unless an approved risk management plan is in place – for example rapid antigen testing
  • avoid contact with vulnerable people outside of your workplace or family, where possible
  • avoid non-essential activities where possible – for example where there are lots of people, inside, in close contact
  • avoid shared spaces and maintain physical distance.

After recovery from COVID-19

People who have recovered from COVID-19 will not be considered a close contact for 28 days after testing positive.

General enquiries

Free call: 1800 088 158