This is a challenging time for many families with COVID-19 now in our community. To support you, the following resources are available:
This resource aims to support parents and carers if someone in their family tests positive to COVID-19.
How can I prepare for COVID-19 cases at home?
Your COVID-19 home kit should include basic hydration solutions (such as hydralyte), a thermometer, pain relief, regular medication, cleaning products, tissues, face masks and gloves. Have a plan for getting food and essentials for up to two weeks.
Symptoms and testing for COVID-19 in children
COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Most people will develop mild to moderate illness and recover without hospitalisation. Some symptoms of COVID-19 in children can include:
- runny nose
- sore throat
- loss or altered sense of smell or taste
- loss of appetite
Less common symptoms include:
- breathing difficulties
- vomiting and diarrhoea
- poor oral intake and mild dehydration.
Serious symptoms include:
- difficulty breathing
- very sleepy (for example, difficult to wake or confused)
- very dehydrated (for example, fewer wet nappies, going to the toilet less than usual or feeling very thirsty)
- chest or abdominal pain
- persistent dizziness or headache
- fever that lasts more than five days, or fever in a baby under three months old
- pain or swelling in the legs.
If your child is unwell, please keep them home from school and get them tested for COVID-19. Your child must stay at home while you wait for your results. They must not go to school or attend other social gatherings. Refer below for what to do if they test positive to COVID-19.
If your child develops any of the serious symptoms listed above, their symptoms get worse or you feel like it is an emergency, call triple zero (000) or go straight to the hospital. Make sure you tell them they have COVID-19.
What to do if you or your child tests positive for COVID-19
If you or your child returns a positive test you must notify your test result via the online declaration form. This is required under the Public Health Act 1997 and ensures you can access the care and support you need and financial assistance if eligible.
The family member who has tested positive must isolate at home or in private accommodation for at least seven days.
If COVID positive or a close contact, do not go out in public, to work, the shops, school or childcare, and do not visit anyone or have visitors to your house.
Close contacts are:
- anyone who lives in your house
- anyone who has visited your home for more than four hours over a 24 hour period
- if you have visited another household for more than four hours, all members of that household are close contacts
- someone who has spent four hours at the same site, workplace or venue as a case during a significant transmission event.
You must also tell your social contacts that you have tested positive for COVID-19. Social contacts are people you have had 15 minutes of face-to-face contact with or spent two hours with in the same indoor space. They are not people from home, your workplace or school.
If you or your child attended school, childcare or an early childhood service while infectious, you must let them know you have tested positive. The facility will tell other students and staff who are education contacts.
The COVID@home care team is available for advice and support for anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19. You can call them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on 1800 973 363.
If your child’s symptoms worsen, call your doctor or the COVID@home care team.
How to protect your household if someone tests positive
If a member of the household or family is at risk of moderate or severe illness from COVID-19, it is best if they (or you) can stay elsewhere while there is a family member in isolation.
If members of the household or family are not at risk of severe illness, you should:
- Stay apart as much as possible. If possible, sleep in a separate bedroom and use a separate bathroom.
- If you must be in the same room, be as quick as possible, try to keep at least 1.5 metres away and wear a face mask.
- Do not share household items.
- Ensure everyone washes their hands often and covers their coughs and sneezes.
- Clean high touch surfaces.
- Put used face masks, tissues and other rubbish straight into a bin.
- Keep living spaces well ventilated by opening windows and doors as much as possible.
How will your child be kept safe at school?
COVID-19 safety measures are in place across all education sites in line with Public Health advice. These measures include:
- ensuring all staff, including volunteers and contractors, have been vaccinated against COVID-19
- encouraging all families to have their children aged 5 years and older vaccinated
- face masks will be worn by adults, however teachers may remove their masks if required to assist clear communication when teaching
- face masks will be worn by all secondary school students
- open windows and air purifiers in classrooms
- use of outdoor learning areas
- increased hygiene practices and abiding by physical distancing and density requirements
- continuing increased COVID-safe cleaning practices
- supporting students with a disability and who are vulnerable by working with parents and carers
- regularly review COVID safety plans
- limiting mixing of students and staff where possible
- ensuring staff, students and community members stay home if they are sick and get tested if they have symptoms.
How cases will be managed in schools
The safety of our students is our first priority. Rapid antigen tests (RATs) will be given to students to use if they have COVID-19 symptoms. If your child is unwell, please stay at home and get tested using the RAT provided by your school. If the result is negative, and your child is feeling well, they can return to school. If positive, let your school know, keep your child at home and advise Public Health. If your child needs to isolate at home, their learning will be supported online. Public Health will work closely with schools if there are increased cases in classes.
How can I stay informed?
For information about COVID safety in schools, visit the Department of Education website.
Don’t be afraid to discuss COVID-19
- Most children will have already heard about the virus or seen people wearing face masks. Parents shouldn’t avoid talking about it.
- Not talking about something can actually make children worry more. Look at the conversation as an opportunity to convey the facts and set the emotional tone. Try to help your child feel informed by giving them fact-based information. This is likely more reassuring than whatever they’re hearing from other sources.
Answer questions simply and truthfully
- Don’t volunteer too much information, as this may be overwhelming. Instead, try to answer your child’s questions.
- Do your best to answer honestly and clearly. It’s okay if you can’t answer everything; being available to your child is what matters.
Take your cues from your child
- Invite your child to tell you anything they may have heard about COVID-19, and how they feel.
- Give them ample opportunity to ask questions. Be prepared to answer (but not prompt) questions. Your goal is to avoid encouraging frightening fantasies.
Make sure you are in a good headspace before you talk to your child
- If you are feeling anxious or panicked, this isn’t the time to talk to your children about what’s happening with COVID-19.
- If you notice that you are feeling anxious take some time to calm down before trying to have a conversation or answer your child’s questions.
- It is helpful to reassure your child about COVID-19 and reassure them that children actually seem to have milder symptoms.
Think about how you’re staying safe
- An important way to reassure children is to emphasise the safety precautions you are taking.
- Children feel empowered when they know what to do to keep themselves safe.
- The CDC recommends thoroughly washing your hands as the primary means of staying healthy.
- Remind children that they are taking care of themselves by washing their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds (or the length of two “Happy Birthday” songs). This is important when they come in from outside, before they eat, and after blowing their nose, coughing, sneezing or using the bathroom.
Stick to routine
- Staying grounded in routines and predictability is going to be helpful right now.
- This is particularly important if your child’s school or child care is impacted.
- Make sure you are taking care of the basics just like you would during school holidays.
- Structured days with regular mealtimes and bedtimes are an essential part of keeping children happy and healthy.
- Tell children that you will continue to keep them updated as you learn more.
- Let them know that the lines of communication are going to be open. You can say, ‘Even though we don’t have the answers to everything right now, once we know more, we will let you know.’
Reference: This information has been sourced from the Child Mind Institute. Attributing Dr Janine Domingues, PHD and Dr Jamie Howard, PHD.
For more information, please visit the Department of Education website. If you have any questions, please speak with your school or contact the Department of Education COVID-19 Support Hotline at COVID19support@education.tas.gov.au or on 1800 816 057.
Everyone at school is working hard to make sure that everyone is safe and that anyone who is unwell will stay home.
Just so you know, it’s completely normal to have different feelings when coming back school. You may feel worried, nervous, angry, excited, happy, or any feeling in between.
Talking to friends and family can be helpful. You can always talk to your teacher or any other adult at school. Your school can help you get in contact with someone to talk to, just let your teacher, parent or carer know.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about COVID-19
Not talking about something can actually make us worry more. Let your parents or a trusted adult know if you have questions about COVID-19. They can answer your questions, or help you find the answers.
Focus on what you’re doing to stay safe
There are lots of measures you can put in place to boost your safety. These include regular hand washing and wearing a face mask if you’re in Year 7 or above (if you’re in Kinder – Year 6, you can wear a mask if you would like to).
Things that help
You feel your best when you focus on:
- the hobbies and activities that you enjoy
- spending time outside playing
- being kind to yourself and to others
- eating healthy food and drinking water
- making sure you get to bed on time.
Keep talking and seek help if you need
Your feelings are important and you are allowed to talk about them. There are lots of people you can talk to when and if you need to. If you find that feelings like being worried or upset don’t seem to change, make sure you let your family or someone at school know. People want to help, but they need to know how you’re feeling so that they can help you feel better.
Some helpful contacts
There are some helplines that are great to use. You can do this on the phone or by online chat, and they are free of charge.
- Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
- Kids Helpline Webchat 8am – 12am
- Lifeline 131 114
- Aboriginal Health Services – Hobart 6234 0777, Launceston 6332 3800, Burnie 6431 3289
- eSafety Commissioner
- Headspace e-help 9am – 1am
- Working It Out
- Your local doctor
- Phoenix Centre – Southern Tasmania 6234 9138, Northern Tasmania 6724 2820.