Skip to main content

Schools, universities and childcare

Information about COVID-19 (coronavirus) and NSW schools, universities and childcare centres.

Latest updates

NSW schools are open but keep children home if possible

No child will be turned away from school however parents are encouraged to keep their children at home.

Protect yourself and others through social distancing

Use social distancing and protect yourself and others with good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene.

Check for symptoms and follow self-isolation requirements

Be aware of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) symptoms and follow self-isolation requirements.


All people who are sick with influenza-like symptoms, even with mild symptoms, should not attend school, universities or childcare.

Information for parents and guardians

  • Anyone that is sick, or has been overseas in the last 14 days, should not attend or enter a school, child care centre or university.
  • Out-of-school activities and family holidays that are not essential should be cancelled. 
  • Have a plan for if your child/young person can not attend childcare or school and be prepared for them to learn at home. You may need to discuss your child care plans with your employer.
  • Make sure your child/young person isn't meeting up with groups of friends.
  • Encourage good hygiene including handwashing with soap and water and coughing/sneezing into a flexed elbow.

Stay informed

Australian Government support for families, carers and child care operators

Free childcare will be available for around one million families and carers during the coronavirus pandemic. Along with the JobKeeper payment, this will help early learning and child care operators to continue to provide services.

Under the plan, the Australian Government will pay 50% of the sector’s fee revenue up to the existing hourly rate cap based on a point in time before parents started withdrawing their children in large numbers, but only so long as services remain open and do not charge families for care. The funding will apply from 6 April based on the number of children who were in care during the fortnight leading into 2 March, whether or not they are attending services.

Read the Australian Government's Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package.

For childcare services and education providers

Encourage good hygiene

  • Encourage good handwashing and hygiene especially where there is face-to-face programs or in small spaces (like laboratories). Have hand sanitisers at entry points, and make sure areas of high touch points for students and staff are cleaned regularly and thoroughly.
  • Take all the actions recommended for businesses and employers.
  • Ensure the highest hygiene practices among food handlers.
  • Ensure infection control and routine environmental cleaning procedures are in place.
  • If there is a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 the childcare service or school should follow existing protocols for cleaning and disinfection for outbreaks of gastrointestinal illness/gastroenteritis.

Social distancing

  • Follow social distancing advice.
  • Try to stagger student breaks to limit movements and contacts between student/class groups.
  • Consider whether any activities can be postponed, reduced in size or frequency, or replaced. 
  • Enable separation of students and avoid queuing, as much as possible.

Preparing for illness

  • Identify a space that can be used to isolate students and staff who become sick.
  • Actively encourage sick children/students and staff to stay at home.
  • Promote the annual influenza vaccine for staff, children and their families.
  • Alert your agency or department about large increases in student and staff absenteeism due to flu-like illnesses.

In the event of illness in staff and children

  • If a child or staff member becomes ill while they are at the service, they should be sent home as soon as possible. While awaiting collection by their carer, ideally, the symptomatic child should be cared for in an area that is separated from other children at the service. This is to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses.
  • Contact your public health unit immediately on 1300 066 055 if you are notified that a child or staff member at your service has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Communicating changes

  • Develop a process to rapidly communicate with staff (including casual workers), visitors, families and your local public health unit.
  • Keep students, parents and staff informed of the actions you are taking.
  • Stay up to date with information on COVID-19 for schools, childcare and parents provided by the Department of EducationCatholic Schools NSW and NSW Health.
  • Refer to SafeWork NSW’s COVID-19: advice and guidance for employers.
  • Prepare for senior students and staff to study/ work from home if required.
Top of page