COVID safety

Read the most up-to-date COVID-19 advice for services including COVID safety guidelines, mask wearing and other requirements. Read our latest email update here.

Current COVID-19 advice

  • Testing and isolation are no longer mandatory for those exposed to a positive case in ECE settings however, testing and isolation recommendations should be considered.
  • From 6pm on 22 April 2022, self-isolation requirements were updated for close or household contacts who are no longer required to isolate at home for 7 days.
  • If a child or staff member has tested positive, they must isolate for 7 days and can leave isolation after 7 days only if they are symptom-free. They do not need to test before returning to the service.
  • The Public Health Order relating to vaccination of education and care workers will not be extended beyond 13 May 2022. In line with broader community settings, ECE services will now move to a risk-based assessment approach for their workforce, meaning that services may choose to implement their own policies around staff vaccination.

  • NSW Health continues to recommend two doses of the COVID-19 vaccination and a booster shot to reduce the risk of transmission within the community.

  • From Monday 7 March, masks are no longer mandatory for staff in ECE settings.
  • NSW Health continues to recommend the wearing of masks indoors when you cannot physically distance, and this will now be a decision for services and educators to determine.
  • Your staff and visitors in ECE services should continue to be supported to wear a mask should they choose to do so.
  • Educators are encouraged to review the NSW Government COVID-19 news and updates for the latest advice.

The announcement to ease the isolation requirements for close contacts will enable staff and children who are close contacts and have no symptoms to continue to attend services if they follow the NSW Health close contact guidelines.

While you do not have to self-isolate, impacted children and staff may only return to work or school/education facility after you have notified that you are a household contact or a close contact. Your employer or educational facility must approve your return to work/school/ECEC and may ask you to take additional precautions to reduce the risk of transmission.

Services may encourage staff to use this option to support workforce needs; however, those who are caring for a family member or who are unwell or showing COVID-19 symptoms themselves should continue to isolate at home.

There are no changes for positive cases: the seven-day isolation requirement remains in place for anyone who has recorded a positive RAT or PCR result. Those people who test positive must follow NSW Health’s Testing positive to COVID-19 and managing COVID-19 safely at home guidelines.

Adults

Masks are no longer mandatory for staff in ECE services.

NSW Health continues to recommend the wearing of masks indoors when you cannot socially distance, and this will now be a decision for services and educators to determine.

Your staff and visitors in ECE services should continue to be supported to wear a mask should they choose to do so. 

For more information, refer to Face mask rules in NSW.

Children

In accordance with current NSW Health advice, masks will not be worn by children under 2 years of age and babies.

NSW Health advises children 2-12 years are also exempt from the requirement to wear face masks but are encouraged to wear masks indoors when you cannot physically distance where practicable.

Children in Out of School Hours Care (OSHC) and Vacation Care Services should follow the same rules for mask wearing for primary school students in accordance with current department advice.

Visit the travel to and from NSW page for detailed advice on rules for entering and leaving NSW from other Australian states or territories.

The risk of transmission of COVID-19 can be reduced through physical distancing amongst staff members, children and visitors to service premises.

The below measures should be carried out to support physical distancing within services:

  • Ensure physical distancing between adults of 1.5m, wherever possible.

  • For adults or children who have an exemption for wearing a face mask, physical distancing should be practiced wherever possible.

  • Where possible and applicable sleep children at least 1.5 metres apart or head to toe to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

  • Avoid any non-essential activities that involve close personal contact.

  • Encourage appropriate outdoor programs to support distancing while considering sun safe practices.

  • In schools, it has been recommended that they should keep children in age cohorts. However, this may not be practical in OSHC services and this is not a requirement. Services may choose to consider use of different play spaces as part of their COVID safety plan.

Where possible, services should also implement the following controls to reduce direct contact with others:

  • Install barriers to create space at sign-in areas, and seated areas.

  • Modify shifts and rosters, or pick-up and drop-off times to reduce peak periods.

  • Have staff collect children from outside the service.

  • Support remote learning for families keeping their children at home for long periods.

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