COVID-19 Guidelines for NT Early Childhood Education and Care Services

The Department of Education has developed two sets of guidelines to assist Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) services in the NT to operate within the COVID-19 pandemic and to prepare, coordinate and respond to confirmed COVID-19 cases in their setting.

Get the COVID-19 operating guidelines.

2022 COVID-19 Operating Guidelines for Early Childhood Education and Care Services PDF (479.3 KB)
2022 COVID-19 Operating Guidelines for Early Childhood Education and Care Services DOCX (908.1 KB)

Get the COVID-19 response management guidelines.

2022 COVID-19 Early Childhood Education and Care Response Management Guidelines PDF (411.5 KB)
2022 COVID-19 Early Childhood Education and Care Response Management Guidelines DOCX (578.0 KB)

Services are encouraged to use these guidelines to assist with the development of their COVID-19 Safety Management Plans. The Operating Guidelines provide general COVID-19 hygiene and safety practice information for services while the Response Management Guidelines provide information for responding to positive cases of COVID-19 and close contacts within the service.

Quality Education and Care NT (QECNT)

QECNT are available to provide advice to services who are managing COVID-19 cases or who have general enquiries about current operating requirements.

Contact an authorised officer at QECNT by calling 08 8999 3561 or emailing qualityecnt.det@education.nt.gov.au.

General advice and useful links

Mask requirements

When mask wearing and face covering mandates are in place, the Chief Health Officer (CHO) Directions must be followed. The provision of masks is a personal responsibility.

When in place, the CHO Directions exempt certain people from wearing face masks in certain circumstances.

These exemptions may include:

  • children under 12 years of age
  • a teacher, educator or childcare worker in a school or childcare facility who is undertaking teaching or child care activities unless;
    • they are a close contact who has however returned a negative rapid antigen test result. As an essential worker they can attend their suitable place of work as per CHO Directions.
  • when eating or drinking.

Although it is not mandatory for small children to wear a mask, a child over the age of 2 years may choose to wear one. Children under the age of 2 years should not wear a mask.

Testing and symptoms

Services should ensure that they actively monitor for symptoms amongst staff and children and advise families of children and staff who have symptoms to get tested.

For information about symptoms and testing, including NT Rapid Antigen Testing Distribution go to the Northern Territory Government's COVID-19 website.

Managing close contacts

A close contact is defined as a person who has spent four continuous hours or more indoors with a COVID-19 positive person while they were infectious.

Children attending early childhood education and care services who are close contacts and have no symptoms of COVID-19 can continue to attend the service as normal. They are not required to get tested unless they have symptoms.

Early childhood education and care workers may exit quarantine for the purpose of attending the workplace if they:

  • have no symptoms
  • are vaccinated
  • submit to and return a negative RAT prior to attending the workplace each day for 7 days
  • take reasonable measures to stay 1.5 metres away from others
  • wear a face mask, except when providing education and care.

For further information refer to the 2022 COVID-19 Early Childhood Education and Care Response Management Guidelines PDF (411.5 KB) or go to the Northern Territory Government's COVID-19 website.

NT Chief Health Officer Directions

It is important that services continue to monitor and keep abreast of the latest directions from the NT Chief Health Officer. For the latest directions from the NT Chief Health Officer go to the Northern Territory Government's COVID-19 website.


Last updated: 17 June 2022

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