The aim of exclusion is to reduce the spread of infectious disease. The less contact there is between people who have an infectious disease and people who are at risk of catching the disease, the less chance the disease has of spreading. Excluding ill children and staff is an effective way to limit the spread of infection in early childhood centres (Based on material provided by the Australian National Health and Medical Reasearch Council).
By excluding one ill person, you can protect many other people from becoming ill. The need for exclusion and the length of time a person is excluded depend on:
- how easily the infection can spread
- how long the person is likely to be infectious
- how severe the disease can be.
(Source: Australian National Health and Medical research Council)
The exclusion procedure
To determine when a person should be excluded:
- identify whether the symptoms or a diagnosed illness have an exclusion period
- refer to our factsheets for the recommended minimum periods of exclusion
- tell the parents, or staff member, when they may return to the centre.
(Based on material provided by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council)
Parents may find the exclusion of their child difficult, and some parents may put pressure on staff to vary the exclusion rules. These parents are often under pressure themselves to fulfill work, study or other family commitments. This may lead to stress and conflict between parents and staff (Based on material provided by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council).
The best way to avoid conflict is to have a written policy that clearly states the exclusion criteria. Give a copy of the policy to all parents and staff when they first join your early childhood centre, and regularly remind them about the policy (Based on material provided by the Australian National Health and Medical research Council).
Clear policies can help avoid conflict
When the child enrols, provide parents with a copy of the centres’s policies on exclusion, hand hygiene, immunisation and medication. Encourage parents to discuss these policies with you. The exclusion policy is the policy most likely to cause concern—make sure parents understand why the service has an exclusion policy (Based on Australian material provided by the National Health and Medical Research Council).
Most parents will appreciate your attempts to prevent illness in their children. It is especially important that parents support the centres' policies on hygiene and infection control. Ask parents to encourage their children to wash and dry their hands when they arrive at the centre and when they leave (Based on material provided by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council).
Early childhood centers should not be influenced by letters from doctors stating that the child can return to care. Sometimes doctors can make different diagnoses for children in the same centre with illnesses that appear similar. It is the doctor’s role to make the diagnosis, but the centre staff can use the information in our factsheets to decide on their response to an illness (e.g. the required exclusion time). We can help you with these situations or if you are in doubt about exclusion (Based on material provided by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council).
For exclusion periods please click here, or read our illness factsheets.