COVID – Close Contact Protocols
The announcement to ease the isolation requirements for close contacts was made on 20th April 2022. This will enable students and staff who are close contacts and have no symptoms to continue to attend school if they follow guidelines agreed with NSW Health. Close contacts attending school will need to adhere to the following in addition to the NSW Health guidelines
- They must notify the school if they are intending to return under this provision.
- They should conduct a daily RAT and return a negative result each morning before attending school for 5 school days.
- No student or staff member identified as a close contact will be permitted to participate in overnight excursions, including school camps.
- Any visitor to a school site who is a close contact is required to advise the school that they are a close contact before they come on site. These visitors should conduct a daily RAT and return a negative result before attending. They must also wear a mask indoors at all times.
Students and staff should self-test when:
- If they are unwell and have any COVID-19 symptoms,
- If the test comes back negative for COVID-19, the student/staff should still not return to school until either:
- The student/staff no longer has any symptoms, or a medical certificate is provided to the school confirming that symptoms are explained by another diagnosis (such as hay fever)
It is important that students or staff do not attend school if they are unwell, even if they have tested negative for COVID-19. Rapid antigen tests can produce false-negative results and symptoms of other illnesses can also be similar to COVID-19, including flu, the common cold and stomach bugs. Health advice is that students or staff who are sick should always stay home to rest and recover and avoid putting other students and staff at risk of getting sick.
It is recommended that students and staff that return to school after recovering from COVID-19 do not participate in rapid antigen testing for 12 weeks following release from self-isolation unless they develop new COVID-19 symptoms. This is due to NSW Health advice that people who have recovered from COVID-19 have a low risk of contracting it again in the following 12 weeks.
For positive COVID cases
If there is a reported positive case in a class, year or other grouping, all other students can continue to attend school in line with NSW Health advice.
If a student or staff member receives a positive RAT test, they need to:
- record the positive RAT result through the Service NSW website or Service NSW app – there is a prompt to add details of the students school or early childhood education centre
- notify your school of the positive RAT or PCR test result as soon as possible
- follow NSW Health advice to isolate for 7 days.
I hope that this has clarified some of the misconceptions.