Health & Safety

School Exclusion

When to keep sick kids home

Sometimes children must be kept away from school if, for example, they have an infectious disease. Here’s what you need to know about school exclusion.

What are school exclusions for health reasons?

If your child has an infectious condition, you may need to keep them at home to stop it from spreading. This may be for a period of time (e.g. 24 hours since the last symptom), until your school lets you know that they can return. The guidelines on exclusion periods can vary for different states and territories.
Information on infectious diseases and exclusion periods is available at but always check with your child’s school.

Kids are often excluded from school due to:

  • conjunctivitis
  • gastroenteritis
  • hand foot and mouth disease
  • influenza (flu)
  • threadworm

For how long will my child be excluded from school?

It depends on how easily the
infection could spread, how severe the disease is and the incubation period (the time between exposure to an infection and when first symptoms show). Many schools have a written policy based on the national guidelines for recommended minimum exclusion periods, which is available at

Sending your child back to school

Sometimes it’s hard for busy parents to keep their child home from school. But it’s important for schools to protect students and staff, and prevent the disease spreading to the wider community. If you have a letter or medical certificate from a doctor or public health facility to say your child is no longer infectious, give it to your school. The school will then let you know if your child can return.

What if I disagree with the school’s decision?

If the school asks for a medical certificate from your doctor but it doesn’t meet the requirements of the school’s exclusion policy, the school may still ask that your child be cared for at home. If you have any further questions or concerns, it’s best to contact your local NSW public health unit.

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