Early childhood education and care (ECEC) COVID-19 guidance for families
COVID-19 guidance for families using Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC), including child care, long day care, family day care and outside school hours care
This guidance relates to Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) settings including child care, long day care, family day care and outside school hours care.
Read more about the COVID-19 safety measures at NSW schools and early childhood education and care:
- Department of Education: advice for families
- Early childhood education and care services
- NSW schools and childcare restrictions
- COVID smart measures for schools – translated documents in your language
Children are less likely to have serious illness from COVID-19, but they can still transmit the virus to others and therefore it is important to follow the health advice and consider your individual circumstances.
The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) has useful information for families: COVID-19 and children: Frequently asked questions.
All staff and family members should stay up to date with vaccinations to reduce the likelihood of severe illness and transmission.
Who is at risk of transmission in an ECEC service?
The transmission risk of COVID-19 varies depending on the amount of time spent with the person with COVID-19 and whether it was in an indoor or outdoor setting.
If a staff member or child at the service is positive for COVID-19, those at highest risk are children and staff who have been indoors with the positive person. Transmission can still occur outdoors; however it is lower risk than indoors. If the length of the contact is short, such as a parent or carer who is positive for COVID -19 quickly dropping off or picking up a child, the risk is low.
Although transmission of COVID-19 in ECEC services is likely, COVID-19 remains a relatively mild illness for most children.
What do I need to do if there is a positive case?
Your child’s centre won’t be able to tell you every time a child or staff member gets a COVID test however, you will be notified if there is a result that could be of concern to you and your family.
It is likely there will be other cases in the ECEC service in the two weeks after the initial case’s attendance at the centre.
If your child is at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 because of underlying health issues, you should consider keeping them at home for at least 7 days following a positive COVID-19 case in the centre to avoid re-exposure during this high-risk period, and monitor for cold or flu symptoms (runny nose, sore throat, cough and fever) Please speak to your GP if you need more advice.
Families should consider the risk of spreading COVID-19 to other members of the household, in particular those family members at risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, when making decisions about ECEC attendance of your child during this period.
If you, or someone in your household has been in contact with someone who has tested positive to COVID-19, learn what you should do in NSW Health’s Information for people exposed to COVID-19.
Where do I go for more information on rapid antigen testing?
The what COVID-19 test should I do? fact sheet has more information on testing and what type of test is most appropriate.
How can we help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in ECEC services?
There are simple steps we can all take to help slow the spread of COVID-19:
- Children and staff should get tested immediately if they have symptoms (runny nose, sore throat, cough and fever) and stay home until symptoms clear. This reduces the risk of infecting others.
Stay up to date with vaccinations.
Wear a mask in crowded, indoor places, to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Check if there are mask requirements in your ECEC centre.
Get together outdoors or in well-ventilated indoor spaces.