Key messages

  • The Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2009 contain several statutory obligations relating to school exclusions for infectious diseases.
  • Exclusions may apply to cases, case contacts or both.
  • The exclusion periods are the minimum times a child must be excluded from school or childcare.

Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2009 (regulation 85)

If you are in charge of a primary school or children’s services centre, you must not allow a child to attend your primary school or children’s services centre either:
  • as specified in column 2 (‘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 1 (‘Condition’) of Table 1, or
  • as specified in column 3 (‘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 1 (‘Condition’) of Table 1.

The person in charge of a primary school or children’s services centre, when directed to do so by the department’s Secretary, must ensure that a child enrolled at the primary school or children’s services centre who is not immunised against a vaccine-preventable disease specified by the Secretary in that direction does not attend the school or centre until the Secretary directs that such attendance can be resumed.

Table 1: Minimum period of exclusion from primary schools and children's services centres for infectious diseases cases and contacts (Public Health Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2009, Schedule 7)

Condition

Exclusion of cases

Exclusion of contacts

Amoebiasis (Entamoeba histolytica)

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

Not excluded

Campylobacter

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

Not excluded

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

Conjunctivitis

Exclude until discharge from eyes has ceased

Not excluded

Diarrhoea

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

Not excluded

Diphtheria

Exclude until a 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 Secretary

Hand, foot and mouth disease

Exclude until all blisters have dried

Not excluded

Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)

Exclude until at least 4 days of appropriate antibiotic treatment has been completed

Not excluded

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

Hepatitis B

Exclusion is not necessary

Not excluded

Hepatitis C

Exclusion is not necessary

Not excluded

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 a dressing, where possible

Not excluded

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection

Exclusion is not necessary

Not excluded

Impetigo

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

Not excluded

Influenza and influenza-like illnesses

Exclude until well

Not excluded unless considered necessary by the Secretary

Leprosy

Exclude until approval to return has been given by the Secretary

Not excluded

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 their first contact with the first case, or received normal human immunoglobulin within 6 days of exposure, they may return to the facility

Meningitis (bacteria, other than meningococcal meningitis)

Exclude until well

Not excluded

Meningococcal infection*

Exclude until adequate carrier eradication therapy has been completed

Not excluded if receiving carrier eradication therapy

Mumps*

Exclude for 9 days or until swelling goes down (whichever is sooner)

Not excluded

Pertussis (whooping cough)*

Exclude 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

Poliomyelitis*

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

Not excluded

Ringworm, scabies, pediculosis (head lice)

Exclude until the day after appropriate treatment has commenced

Not excluded

Rubella* (German measles)

Exclude until fully recovered or for at least 4 days after the onset of rash

Not excluded

Salmonella or Shigella infection

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

Not excluded

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)

Exclude until a medical certificate of recovery is produced

Not excluded unless considered necessary by the Secretary

Streptococcal infection (including scarlet fever)

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

Not excluded

Tuberculosis

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

Not excluded

Typhoid fever (including paratyphoid fever)

Exclude until approval to return has been given by the Secretary

Not excluded unless considered necessary by the Secretary

Verotoxin-producing E. coli (VTEC)

Exclude if required by the Secretary and only for the period specified by the Secretary

Not excluded

Worms (intestinal)

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

Not excluded

* Vaccine-preventable disease

Note: In this schedule, ‘medical certificate’ means a certificate of a registered medical practitioner.

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