Schools and childcare

Last Updated: 19 Nov 2021 4:48pm


All schools are working hard to apply Public Health and Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) guidance to their site’s practices. Schools are also applying guidance from WorkSafe Tasmania’s COVID-19 Safe Workplaces Framework.

The AHPPC has recommended schools remain open. Their advice is that pre-emptive closures are not likely to be effective to prevent community transmission of COVID-19 at this time. The most important strategies for schools and the Education and Care sector to implement to assist families to stay healthy include:

  • Promoting personal hygiene and cough and sneeze etiquette
  • Additional cleaning (especially of frequently touched surfaces)
  • Encouraging physical distancing
  • Supporting staff and families to stay home if they are unwell
  • Supporting those who are more at risk of severe illness if they contract COVID-19
  • Looking after the psychological wellbeing of students, staff and families.

Temporary site closures will likely occur when a confirmed case of COVID-19 is identified at a site. This is to support the Department of Health to conduct contact tracing, and provide time for cleaning and re-assurance to the affected school or service community. All temporary closures will be arranged in consultation with Department of Health.

Physical distancing in schools

Physical distancing of children in schools, early childhood centres and playgroups is not required under current restrictions. The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) advises that there is very limited evidence of transmission of COVID-19 between children.

All adults (including parents/carers) must still maintain physical distance from each other (1.5 metres) but this does not apply to children.

Student transport

For schools that do not operate their own bus services see Transport – School Buses.

For schools with their own bus services, please refer to the relevant school for details.

Student accommodation

All student accommodation facilities (whether Government or Independent) operating in the COVID-19 environment have changed their procedures to include increased cleaning and physical distancing measures as far as practicable. Good personal hygiene and cough/sneeze etiquette is being encouraged as well as strong support for students (and their families) should they become unwell.

A National Code was endorsed in October 2021 to support boarding school students, family members and staff navigate different state and territory travel restrictions. Boarding school students, family members and staff who wish to travel to Tasmania from areas that are subject to Tasmanian travel restrictions, must use the Tasmanian G2G system to apply for permission to enter Tasmania and clearly identify their boarding school/s in their application.

Children should not be sent to school if they feel unwell with cold or flu-like symptoms including:

  • fever
  • runny nose
  • cough, sore/itchy throat or
  • shortness of breath

Children should stay home and you should phone your GP or the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 for a referral to be tested for COVID-19.

Children should only be returning to school once their cold/flu like symptoms have passed.

If your child has serious symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, call Triple Zero (000).

Hay fever and COVID-19 symptoms

Hay fever can be caused by allergies to pollen from some flowering plants and is more common in Tasmania during spring and summer.

Hay fever symptoms can include:

  • runny, itchy or blocked nose
  • sneezing
  • itchy, sore and watery eyes
  • a cough.

These are also symptoms of a cold, flu and COVID-19 so it is hard to tell them apart without testing.

Students experiencing hay fever symptoms, even mild symptoms, should get tested for COVID-19.

They should stay home and not attend school while they wait for their test results.

Students can return to school if they have:

  1. had a test for COVID-19 while they had symptoms and the result was negative
  2. consulted a doctor to discuss their symptoms and received advice/treatment to manage them
  3. received a certificate or letter from their doctor stating they currently have hay fever and can attend school.

If a student’s symptoms worsen throughout the hay fever season or new symptoms develop, they should see their GP who may ask them to get tested for COVID-19 again.

School events

Events that are part of everyday school operations such as assemblies (including end of year assemblies), excursions, sports carnivals, interschool competitions and parent/teacher meetings may be held in accordance with Public Health guidelines including density requirements, check in requirements for visiting adults and hygiene practices. Physical distancing should be maintained where possible.

For more information about events for Tasmanian Government Schools, see the Parent and Carer Guide.

Families with children at Catholic and Independent Schools should contact their school for advice on arrangements regarding activities and events.

School celebrations and social events

Public Health has developed some clear guidance to allow celebrations and some social events to occur on school sites. These events will be able to go ahead but will need to be held in accordance with current Public Health directions.

School formals/end of year functions may be held on school sites and dancing is allowed for students provided that only students and teachers from that school are in attendance and no alcohol is consumed.

Events that involve the broader community such as fundraising, social events, dinners, productions etc will need to adhere to Public Health requirements associated with conducting the event in accordance with the Framework for COVID-19 Safe Events and Activities in Tasmania. This means that it is required that these events are undertaken within the venue density requirements (one person per 2 square metres) as well as maximum event numbers in accordance with the COVID-19 Safe Events requirements for the site on which they are planned to be held.

COVID safe behaviours including hygiene measures and visitor check in will need to be applied to such events.

Celebrations taking place on sites external to the Department of Education will need to comply with that venue’s COVID Safety plan.

For more information