This page is designed to provide families with up-to-date information about COVID-19 and education and care services. We’re frequently updating this page, so please check back regularly to make sure you’re getting the most current information.
You must notify your service provider.
Your childcare provider may also require you to notify them if your child or if you are a close contact.
A staff member or child (who is a close contact) can still attend care subject to the following conditions:
- they cannot attend if they show symptoms; and
- must produce a negative test result prior to attending care (for all of the seven days) – refer to the Public Health website for the latest close contact rules.
Updated 2 May 2022
If a child or staff member from the same service as my child tests positive to COVID-19, will my child be a close contact?
If a case is detected in an early childhood setting, parents and carers will be informed by the service provider and asked to monitor the child/ student for symptoms and test if symptoms develop. Children are not considered to be close contacts in relation to cases identified in an early childhood setting.
Occasionally, public health will advise the service directly if additional measures need to be taken. This may occur, for example, if there is a large outbreak or concerns about ongoing risk to children. See the Schools and early childhood education and care | Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and Return to school – The Department of Education Tasmania information for further details.
Yes, all close contacts must have a negative result prior to attending care.
If your child is under the age of 2 and a test cannot be completed, they cannot attend care.
You should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Some RATs are not recommended for use in children under 2. Children under the age of 2 may undergo a PCR COVID-19 test.
If they produce a negative result 24 hours before leaving the house for care, they can attend care.
This close contact rule applies for all 7 days.
If a group outbreak is declared, Public Health recommends that all ECEC contacts be tested, regardless of symptoms.
If the first round of testing identifies additional cases then:
- A second test of all ECEC contacts in the group should be performed two days later; and
- testing should continue every 2–3 days until no positive tests are returned.
People who have recovered from COVID-19 do not have to test (within 8 weeks of recovery).
ECEC contacts without symptoms do not need to quarantine while awaiting test results and can remain at the ECEC setting and continue their normal activities while awaiting testing.
Testing should be conducted by parent/carers or at home.
More detailed information can be found in our ECEC-COVID-19-Outbreak-Management-Guidelines.
In event of an outbreak at an ECEC, Public Health has advised that persons who have contracted COVID-19 within an 8 week period are not required to test.
People who have recovered from COVID-19 usually develop an immunity from catching it again eight weeks after infection.
Please refer to Leaving isolation after having COVID-19 | Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) for more information.
If your child has hay fever symptoms, please keep them at home and test for COVID-19 using a rapid antigen test (RAT).
If your child tests negative on a RAT and symptoms continue, Public Health advises that you must do a second RAT 24 hours later, or seek a PCR test.
If the second RAT or PCR remains negative, this will be sufficient evidence for your child to return to care if they feel well.
If symptoms change or increase in severity, please see your treating medical practitioner for review.
All service providers are different
I’ve noticed some of the things that happen at my service are different to what is happening at my friend or family member’s service. Why is that?
Although Public Health and the Department of Education have provided standardised advice for schools and the early childhood education and care sector (available here: Schools and early childhood education and care | Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)), there are two broad reasons why management may differ between service providers:
- Every education and care service has their own COVID-19 Safety Plan. This plan is tailored to each individual service. It outlines how they intend to keep their children, families, and educators safe.
- Public Health may perform a risk assessment and occasionally direct a service to manage children/students as close contacts in specific situations.
Financial information and support
My child is isolating/in quarantine. Do I still need to pay fees to keep the spot open for my child?
It depends. Every service provider has different rules. You’ll need to speak to yours to find out the details.
The Australian Government allows 42 absences a year plus an additional 10 days (available for the 2021-22 financial year period), should these be required.
You can find more information on the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) website.
My service provider has closed my child’s service due to staffing-related issues. Do I still need to pay to keep my child’s spot?
You need to speak to your service provider about the service’s enrolment conditions and payment of fees.
I have to take time off work to stay at home with my child who is in isolation. What leave / financial support is available to me?
If a child over 12 years old tested positive before they obtain their full (often second) dose can they still attend care?
Yes, the child may still attend care after their isolation period ends.
A temporary exemption from the vaccination requirements to enter ECEC settings under the Public Health Direction of up to four months (starting from release from isolation) can be applied.
Public Health has permitted this temporary exemption to give the child reasonable time for recovery before completing the final dose of the vaccination.
The four month period does not mean the child is unable to obtain their final dose prior to the four month period if they have already recovered.
If the premises are being used to provide a child care service, persons must wear a face mask while in an indoor space of the premises.
Under the Mask wearing in certain locations – No. 1, the following apply:
1. A person must wear a fitted face covering while in an indoor space of:
- (vi) a premises being used to provide a child care service, within the meaning of the Child Care Act 2001, except where the service is provided to a child in the child’s primary or other residence
- (vii) an education and care service premises within the meaning of the Education and Care Services National Law (Tasmania);
2. A person must wear a fitted face covering while the person is providing one or more of the following services, in an indoor space, to persons who are present in the indoor space:
- (v) a service providing home-based child care, within the meaning of the Child Care Act2001, to a child in the child’s primary or other residence;
Note the following exemptions:
- this requirement does not apply when outdoors.
- an exception to wearing a face mask is made to enable clear communication as part of employment could apply to a childcare worker. However if removed for this purpose, it must be put back on as soon as possible.
Services should manage children with cold and flu symptoms by doing the following:
- Communicating with all families asking them to keep unwell children at home.
- Where a child appears unwell on drop off, ask the parent/carer to take them home.
- Where a child appears unwell while in care, contact the child’s family to collect them as soon
- Where possible, and your supervision and ratio requirements allow, keep the child in
isolation until they are collected.
- Encouraging families to get their child tested. They should receive a negative COVID-19
test and be symptom-free before returning to the service.
Please refer to page 15 of our ECU Living with COVID-19 Guidance for ECEC for further guidance.
Please visit the Resources for living with and managing COVID-19 in ECEC services section of our website for information on safety measures that should be adopted and how services may go about putting them in place.
No, the mask wearing requirements remain at ECEC settings, subject to exemptions covered in Mandatory mask wearing in public | Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
With the exception of children under the age of 12, all persons in ECEC settings must wear masks.
A mask may temporarily be removed to enable clear enunciation, or where visibility of the mouth is required for communication.
None of the settings mentioned in the Premier’s announcement include ECEC settings. Services must not change their business policies to contravene Public Health Directions on mask wearing.
Please visit Information for living with and managing COVID-19 in ECEC settings section of our website for information and links to resources.
Services should develop COVID-19 Safety Plans under the minimum standards outlined in the COVID-19 Safe Workplaces Framework .
Yes. Children aged 12 and older are required to wear masks at OSHC settings when indoors.
This is regardless whether the setting for OSHC is at a school or non-school as OSHC services do not provide primary or home education.
This does not apply if the OSHC service is in a private residential premises.
Family Day Care
Can a Family Day Care provider keep operating if someone in their home is under quarantine/self-isolation?
No. If anyone in the Family Day Care provider’s home is self-isolating or in quarantine, then they must not operate.
COVID-19 shares many symptoms with a common cold flu and hay fever. A full list of symptoms can be found here.
No matter how mild, parents/carers should not send their child to care if they see any symptoms.
It is important that you:
- Do not send your child to care; and
- Get your child tested for COVID-19 if they present any symptoms.
Click here for guidance on how to use a RAT test.
If your question is about:
- health advice; or
- information about COVID restrictions
please contact the Public Health hotline on 1800 671 738 or seek information on the coronavirus website.
If your question is about:
- the operation of your child’s education and care service;
- service policies; or
- changes to enrolment or attendance
please contact your service directly.