Excluding an unwell child – what to do
In Victoria, children’s services centres, such as childcare centres and kindergartens, and primary schools have a responsibility under the Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2009 to manage the following infectious diseases:
- whooping cough (pertussis)
- rubella (German measles)
- meningococcal disease.
If your school or service has a sick child, you must:
- ensure that unwell children do not attend your school or service, as per national guidelines (Staying healthy: preventing infectious diseases in early childhood education and care services, 5th edition)
- isolate children who became unwell during the day from other children and send the unwell child home as soon as possible
- exclude the unwell child
- notify the department immediately if a child is suspected of having one of the six infectious diseases listed above; please call the department even if you believe a doctor has already done so
- defer any action, such as alerting parents, excluding unwell children or displaying signage, until directed to do so by the department.
Infection spread and management
You can further assist the department to manage the spread of infection by:
- asking for consent from the parents or guardians of the unwell child to be contacted by the department to investigate the suspected disease
- asking the parents or guardians for the contact details of the doctor or health professional believed to have diagnosed the disease, and passing these details to the department
- ensuring that all staff are fully immunised and know their immunisation status.
The department will:
- investigate – for example, through laboratory testing – to determine whether it is one of the six diseases listed above
- contact the doctor believed to have diagnosed the disease
- notify your school or service as to what action, if any, is required for a confirmed disease.
Confirmed cases – next steps
Depending on the results of the department’s investigation, possible actions your school or service may be directed to take include:
- communicating with staff or parents/guardians – for example, through letters, signage, emails or phone calls
- excluding, for a specified period, children considered by the department as being at risk of infection – for example, unimmunised children or children whose immunisation status is unknown.
The department will advise you if your school or centre needs to take any of these actions, or additional ones.