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COVID case management

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​​​​​​​​​​​Reporting confirmed cases of COVID-19​

There is no requirement for schools or early childhood services to notify Queensland Health or their local Public Health Unit of a confirmed case of COVID-19.

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Managing illness

Children or staff showing signs of illness or feeling unwell, must stay at home.

Anyone who is displaying COVID-19 symptoms must:

  • go to a Queensland Health testing clinic and get tested – students and staff will be prioritised to receive a rapid antigen test
  • follow Queensland Health isolation requirements if the test is positive
  • only return to their school or early childhood service if the test is negative and they no longer have symptoms.
  • Read more about COVID-19 and your child’s health.

    School staff should refer to the department's leave guide (PDF, 323KB) (departmental employees only) if they have COVID-19.

    Temperature screening at early childhood services

    Temperature screening may be conducted on arrival at early childhood services. However, this does not replace the need for other important public health measures such as hand hygiene, and enhanced cleaning and disinfecting.

    A fever is classified as a temperature reading at or above 37.5° Celsius.

    If a child's temperature is at 37.5° Celsius or above, ask the child and their parent or carer to wait in a separate room and re-check their temperature in 15 minutes.

    If the second reading again equals 37.5° Celsius or above, the child should return home with their parent or carer.

    Educators should wash their hands before and after conducting the temperature screening.

    Services should have systems to ensure devices are cleaned and disinfected using disinfectant wipes or a spray when screening is finished.

    If symptoms develop while at school or early childhood services

    ​Isolate the unwell person

    Anyone who becomes unwell or is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms​ whilst at school or an early childhood service, should be isolated in an appropriate, supervised space.

    Contact the child's parent or carer

    Contact the child's parent or carer to collect them as soon as possible.

    Seek medical advice if needed

    Staff should seek urgent medical advice if they are concerned about the child’s symptoms.

    For early childhood services, a trained staff member could take the temperature of a child, where appropriate, to support decision-​​making, ensuring they wash their hands before and after.

    Get tested

    Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should get tested.

    Find a COVID-19 testing clinic.

    Staff and students will be prioritised at Queensland Health testing clinics for a rapid antigen test. If symptoms develop whilst at school, the parent or carer will be given a rapid antigen test to be administered at home. Staff members will be provided a rapid antigen test to be administered at home.

    Schools should refer to distr​ibution of rapid antigen tests ( departmental employees only) for further information.

    Isolation for confirmed cases

    If a staff member or child tests positive for COVID-19 they will be required to isol​ate and cannot attend their school or early childhood service while isolating. As per standard practise, parents, carers or staff need to notify the school or early childhood service of any absences.

    If a student is unwell, they should rest and recover. They will not be expected to undertake school work if they are unwell. However, students can access resources on the learning@home website or parents and carers may contact their child’s school to discuss possible learning at home arrangements.

    Once a child or staff member has completed their period of isolation and no longer has symptoms, they are free to return to their school or early childhood service. They do not need to produce a negative test before they can return.

    For 7 days after ending isolation, staff and children aged 12 years and over must wear a face masks indoors, or when outdoors if physical distancing cannot be maintained.

    Close contacts

    When determining whether someone is a close contact, schools and early childhood services are not considered a household or household-like accommodation or care facility. Therefore, schools and early childhood services can continue to operate within COVID safe guidelines and staff and children do not need to follow Queensland Health close contact guidelines unless directed to do so.

    In some cases, Queensland Health or the Public Health Unit (PHU) may issue quarantine directions to parents and carers via the email account provided to their school or early childhood service.

    If someone​ in a staff member or a child's household tests positive for COVID-19, the child or staff member must follow Queensland Health requirements for close contacts. This includes notifying your school and wearing a face mask for 7 days. It is recommended close contacts undertake a COVID-19 test on days 0, 2, 4 and 6.

    A close contact does not need to produce evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result to attend their school or early childhood service.​

    ​Staff and students who have attended a school camp may be considered a household-like close contact if someone attending the camp tests positive for COVID-19. This will be dependent on the style of accommodation at the camp. Your school will advise staff and students if they are deemed a close contact and need to follow Queensland Health guidelines.​

    Notifying families and staff

    When a confirmed case of COVID-19 cases is identified at the school or early childhood service, staff and families will be advised:

    • that there has been a confirmed case of COVID-19 identified at the school or service – the identity of individuals who have a positive test result will not be disclosed
    • to monitor for symptoms
    • to stay home if unwell.

    This advice may be provided each time a case is identified, or as part of the school or service's regular updates to staff and families.

    Schools may provide more specific communication where appropriate. For example, to families of an individual class or year level, depending on the size and context of the school.

    Cleaning guidance

    In line with the Queensland Government Managing COVID-19 in workplaces, deep cleaning is no longer required where a confirmed case of COVID-19 has been identified. This includes schools and early childhood services.

    The two-step precautionary clean – involving a daily normal hygienic clean followed by sanitising – is sufficient to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

    In early childhood settings, the National Health and Medical Research Councils (NHMRC) preventing infectious diseases in early childhood education and care services should also be followed.

    Multiple cases at a school

    If there are multiple confirmed cases of COVID-19, schools will work with their regional office to ensure appropriate action is taken.

    Staffing

    Schools and early childhood services have plans in place to minimise disruption to learning. Principals or service providers will communicate regularly regarding their individual circumstances. There may be times when schools or early childhood services need to adjust their timetable, combine classes, or bring in relief staff to manage any workforce challenges. There may even be a need to close a school or service on departmental or health advice — in the same manner that would normally be taken for other health related concerns such as a gastro outbreak.​

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    Last updated 29 April 2022