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Colds, flu and other respiratory illness are common in schools during winter. Here are some simple tips to prevent the spread of illness:

  • Anyone who is unwell should stay at home. Keep unwell tamariki at home until 24 hours after their symptoms have gone.
  • Wash and dry hands thoroughly and often
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow or upper sleeve, not your hand
  • Wash your hands after blowing your nose and after coughing/sneezing
  • Regularly clean high touch surfaces – door handles, taps, table tops, phones, computer keyboard etc
  • Get a flu vaccination at your family doctor or pharmacist


For more information:

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Additional information

Winter Illness and RSV

Cold, flu and other respiratory viruses including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are common in schools and early learning centres during winter. These illnesses can be easily spread by sneezes or cough droplets.

RSV infections may progress to cause pneumonia and bronchiolitis, especially in infants.

Common symptoms:

  • a runny nose
  • coughing or sneezing
  • fever
  • wheezing and difficulty breathing
  • loss of appetite
  • difficulty feeding due to breathlessness


  • Anyone who is unwell should stay at home until they are symptom free and feeling well. Your child should not return to school or early learning until 24 hours after their symptoms (cough, runny nose) have gone.
  • Wash and dry hands thoroughly and often to stop the spread of illness. 
  • Shortness of breath or abnormally rapid breathing always requires immediate medical attention.

If your child or baby has these symptoms, please see our website for further information on when to see a doctor: 

Last updated 17 May 2022.