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

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 and isolate for 5 days.

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
  • get tested 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.

Classroom contact

A worker is a classroom contact if they worked in a room where a child or other early childhood worker has tested positive for COVID-19.

If you’re a worker and a classroom contact you must do rapid antigen ‘test to stay’ on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and attend work if you receive a negative result (or staff can continue to test daily over the 7 day period if preferred).

Close contact

Leaders and managers should apply a pragmatic approach to managing who is or is not a close contact when following the testing, isolating and quarantine (TIQ) 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 have PCR test or if temporary closure

If you've been recommended to undertake PCR testing or if your service, group or room has been temporarily closed as a circuit breaker in the last 7 days, 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 or COVID Management Plan events
  • wear a surgical mask around others, where age appropriate, and outside your home
  • 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 people, inside, in close contact
  • avoid shared spaces and maintain physical distance.

After isolation if you had COVID-19

If you have recovered from COVID-19, you will not be considered a close contact for 28 days after your release from isolation.

After 28 days, you will still be considered a close contact if you are exposed to COVID-19 and meet the close contact definition.

COVID-19 (coronavirus) Team

Emaileducation.covidcoordination [at] sa.gov.au