RAHT Test to Stay program available for NSW ECEC services with positive COVID-19 cases
The COVID-19 management landscape for early childhood education and care services in New South Wales will change from today, with the introduction of the Rapid Antigen Home Testing (RAHT) Test to Stay program for those services who have a positive case of COVID-19 in attendance at their service.
The Department of Education’s Test to Stay program enables ‘High Risk’ contacts, providing they get an initial negative PCR test, to attend a service after providing proof of a negative RAHT each day prior to entering the premises. This allows High Risk contacts to stay at their service where they would otherwise need to isolate.
The Test to Stay program only applies if the exposure has occurred at an ECEC service. High Risk contacts from community exposures for example household contacts are not eligible for the Test to Stay program
To opt into RAHT testing, services will complete a short form following their NQA ITS report. This form is now available on the Department’s website.
More information about the RAHT option
- The RAHT option will be available to High Risk contacts at ECEC services to get them back to normal operations on the basis they complete RAHT consecutively including on weekends and non-attendance days until the completion of the 7-day period they are required to isolate.
- The service must verify the negative RAHT result each day prior to the person attending the ECEC service.
- RAHT kits are not currently recommended for zero to two-year-olds – so they are not currently included in this program.
- Use of RAHT for “Test to Stay” is not mandatory and is a service-based decision. If the service opts in, parents may then choose whether or not to participate in the RAHT Test to Stay program. High Risk contacts will otherwise need to isolate for seven days.
- The Department will work with ECE services to provide access to RAHT kits upon notification of a positive case.
- Outside of the ECEC service, children, staff or volunteers identified as High Risk will need to remain in isolation and stay home. This means they cannot go to parks, shops or other activities outside of the service for their seven-day isolation period.
Those who choose not to participate in the Test to Stay program will be required to self isolate for seven days, show a negative PCR test, and return a negative day six RAHT test to be able to return to the service.
How will services access RAHT kits?
A form has been provided by the NSW Department of Education to streamline support for services with a positive case of COVID-19.
The form needs to be completed as soon as possible following the service being made aware of the positive case, and no later than four days from the date of last exposure.
A range of other resources have been compiled by the Department to support services to manage a positive case of COVID-19. These resources can be accessed here.
Determining the level of risk
Children and staff members are considered to be at high risk of contracting COVID-19 if they have been in the same indoor area with the positive case for a period of time, interacting and participating with others.
Moderate risk is present for those who have been interacting and participating with the positive case in outdoor settings only, while those who have had limited exposure, or been in different parts of the service are considered to be low risk.
If the positive COVID-19 case only attended the service to pick up or drop off children, or as a delivery service, all children and staff in attendance are considered to be low risk.
In the event that services are unclear about the level of risk which should be assigned, the Department recommended “upgrading that person’s classification to ensure the health and safety of all children at the service.”
To remain current with advice from the Department in relation to COVID-19, services are encouraged to regularly check the COVID-19 Guidelines for ECEC services website and subscribe to sector updates.
Services with a positive case of COVID-19, or who have specific questions about the service response to COVID-19 are encouraged to contact the Department by email to [email protected]
Further information is available on the NSW Health website.
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