Key messages

  • The Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2019 contain several statutory obligations relating to primary schools and children’s services exclusions for infectious diseases.
  • There have been some minor updates to the diseases and exclusion periods in the Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2019.
  • Exclusions may apply to cases (children with particular infections) and contacts (children who have been exposed to particular infections).
  • The exclusion periods are the minimum times a child must be excluded from primary school or a children’s service such as childcare centre or kindergarten.
  • Children’s services describes the terms ‘education and care service premises or children’s services centre’ used in the regulations. It includes centres such as childcare centres and kindergartens.

Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2019 (regulation 111)

On the 14 December 2019, the Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2019 replaced the previously existing regulations. The updated exclusion requirements for cases and contacts are found in Schedule 7 of the regulations, and are reproduced below. They are also available on a table on a page. Key changes are described in the information sheet “Immunisation and exclusions (schools and children’s services)”.

Primary schools and children’s services such as child care centres and kindergartens are settings where there can be an increased risk for transmission of certain infectious diseases.

If you are in charge of a primary school or children’s service, you must not allow a child to attend your primary school or children’s service either:

  • as specified in column 3 (‘Exclusion of cases’) of the table in Schedule 7 if you have been informed that the child is infected with an infectious disease listed in column 2 (‘Condition’) of the table, or
  • as specified in column 4 (‘Exclusion of contacts’) of the table in Schedule 7 if you have been informed that the child has been in contact with a person who is infected with an infectious disease listed in column 2 (‘Condition’) of the table.

Occasionally, the Chief Health Officer may identify that a child is at material risk of contracting a vaccine-preventable disease. As a result, Chief Health Officer may direct a person in charge of a primary school or children’s service to exclude that child. The Chief Health Officer will then direct when attendance can be resumed.

Table: Minimum period of exclusion from primary schools and children's services for infectious diseases cases and contacts (Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2010, Schedule 7)

Number Conditions
Exclusion of cases
Exclusion of contacts
 1 Chickenpox Exclude until all blisters have dried.  This is usually at least 5 days after the rash appears in unimmunised children, but may be less in previously immunised children Any child with an immune deficiency (for example, leukaemia) or receiving chemotherapy should be excluded for their own protection.  Otherwise not excluded

 2

Conjunctivitis

Exclude until discharge from eyes has ceased

Not excluded
 3

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection 

Exclusion is not necessary

Not excluded 

 4

Diarrhoeal illness

Exclude until there has not been vomiting or a loose bowel motion for 24 hours

Not excluded 

 5 Diphtheria 

Exclude until medical certificate of recovery is received following at least two negative throat swabs, the first not less than 24 hours after finishing a course of antibiotics and the other 48 hours later

Exclude family/household contacts until cleared to return by the Chief Health Officer 

 6

Glandular fever
(Epstein-Barr Virus infection)

Exclusion is not necessary

Not excluded 

 7

Hand, Foot and Mouth disease 

Exclude until all blisters have dried 

Not excluded
 8

Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)

Exclude until 48 hours after initiation of effective therapy

Not excluded 

 9

Hepatitis A

Exclude until a medical certificate of recovery is received, but not before 7 days after the onset of jaundice or illness 

Not excluded
 10

Hepatitis B

Exclusion is not necessary

Not excluded
 11

Hepatitis C

Exclusion is not necessary

Not excluded
 12

Herpes (cold sores) 

Young children unable to comply with good hygiene practices should be excluded while the lesion is weeping.  Lesions to be covered by dressing, where possible

Not excluded 

 13

Human immuno-deficiency virus infection (HIV)

Exclusion is not necessary 

Not excluded 

 14

Impetigo 

Exclude until appropriate treatment has commenced. Sores on exposed surfaces must be covered with a watertight dressing 

Not excluded 

 15

Influenza and influenza like illnesses

Exclude until well

Not excluded unless considered necessary by the Chief Health Officer 

 16

Leprosy

Exclude until approval to return has been given by the Chief Health Officer

Not excluded 

 17

Measles

Exclude for at least 4 days after onset of rash

Immunised contacts not excluded. Unimmunised contacts should be excluded until 14 days after the first day of appearance of rash in the last case. If unimmunised contacts are vaccinated within 72 hours of exposure with any infectious case, or received Normal Human Immunoglobulin (NHIG) within 144 hours of exposure of any infectious case, they may return to the facility 

 18

Meningitis (bacterial other than meningococcal meningitis)

Exclude until well

Not excluded
 19

Meningococcal infection 

Exclude until adequate carrier eradication therapy has been completed

Not excluded if receiving carrier eradication therapy
 20

Mumps 

Exclude for 5 days or until swelling goes down (whichever is sooner)

Not excluded
 21

Molluscum contagiosum

Exclusion is not necessary 

Not excluded
 22

Pertussis (Whooping cough)

Exclude the child for 21 days after the onset of cough or until they have completed 5 days of a course of antibiotic treatment 

Contacts aged less than 7 years in the same room as the case who have not received three effective doses of pertussis vaccine should be excluded for 14 days after the last exposure to the infectious case, or until they have taken 5 days of a course of effective antibiotic treatment
 23

Poliovirus infection 

Exclude for at least 14 days from onset.  Re admit after receiving medical certificate of recovery 

Not excluded
 24 Ringworm, scabies, pediculosis (head lice)

Exclude until the day after appropriate treatment has commenced

Not excluded

 25 Rubella (German measles)

Exclude until fully recovered or for at least four days after the onset of rash 

Not excluded 

 26 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)

Exclude until medical certificate of recovery is produced

Not excluded unless considered necessary by the Chief Health Officer 

 27

Shiga toxin or Verotoxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC or VTEC) 

Exclude if required by the Chief Health Officer and only for the period specified by the Chief Health Officer 

Not excluded

 28

Streptococcal infection
(including scarlet fever)

Exclude until the child has received antibiotic treatment for at least 24 hours and the child feels well

Not excluded

 29

Tuberculosis (excluding latent tuberculosis) 

Exclude until receipt of a medical certificate from the treating physician stating that the child is not considered to be infectious

Not excluded 
 30

Typhoid fever (including paratyphoid fever) 

Exclude until approval to return has been given by the Chief Health Officer 

Not excluded unless considered necessary by the Chief Health Officer

Explanatory notes:

  • Diarrhoeal illness includes instances where certain pathogens are identified including Amebiasis (Entamoeba histolytica), Campylobacter spp., Salmonella spp., Shigella spp. and intestinal worms, but is not limited to infection with these pathogens.
  • ‘Medical certificate’ means a certificate of a registered medical practitioner.
  • Exclusion of cases and contacts is not necessary for latent tuberculosis.

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