Department of Health

Exclusion periods for primary schools and children's services

Role of primary schools and children's services.

Primary schools and children's services such as child care centres and kindergartens have a responsibility under the Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2019External Link to help manage infectious diseases in their facilities.

School and child services exclusion table

Exclusion of children with particular infections (known as cases) is the most important way to reduce transmission of infectious disease in these settings. In some limited circumstances, it is important to exclude children who have been exposed to particular infections (known as contacts).

Different exclusion periods apply to different infectious diseases for cases and contacts.

Exclusion table

Excluding an unwell child – what to do

In Victoria, primary schools and children’s services, such as childcare centres and kindergartens, have a responsibility under the Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2019External Link to exclude certain children for periods as specified in the regulations. There is also a responsibility to follow any direction to exclude a child that is made by the Chief Health Officer. 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
  • if you are considering actions such as alerting parents, or displaying signage, call the department on 1300 651 160 who may give advice on whether such as action is required

Infection spread and management

You can further assist the department to manage the spread of infection by ensuring that all staff are fully immunised and know their immunisation details.

Infections in children's services centres

Children in childcare centres, other children's services centres and kindergartens are at particular risk of transmitting infectious diseases because of:

  • close contact with other children and staff
  • lack of previous exposure to common infections
  • lack of toilet training
  • lack of control of other body secretions
  • mouthing behaviour.

These risk factors may be increased when staff are not appropriately trained, group sizes are large and mixing of age groups occurs.

In children's service centres, certain organisms have been identified to have a higher prevalence of infections or have been reported as epidemic:

  • respiratory syncytial virus
  • influenza virus
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b
  • Neisseria meningitidis
  • Shigella spp.
  • rotavirus
  • Giardia lamblia
  • cryptosporidium
  • hepatitis A
  • E. coli
  • Campylobacter spp.
  • parvovirus B19 (erythema infectiosum)
  • coxsackievirus group A (hand, food and mouth disease)
  • Streptococcus pyogenes, Staphylococcus aureus (impetigo)
  • cytomegalovirus
  • scabies
  • head lice.

Reviewed 11 May 2023


Contact details

Do not email patient notifications.

Communicable Disease Section Department of Health GPO Box 4057, Melbourne, VIC 3000

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