Your Thoughts on Childcare Centre's Definition of a Runny Nose as a Respiratory Symptom

So today I have received a call from the childcare centre my kid attends, informing me that little rug rat has a bit of a snotty nose "with a bit of green", and will have to be picked up and taken for a COVID test, then given a doctor's clearance AND brought back only once runny nose is gone.

While I understand the concern childcare centres have at the moment about the pandemic, expectation for the child's runny nose to stop before they are returned to the centre seems like an overkill. Especially since my kid has a diagnosed dust mite allergy, and they have already proven in the past no to control dust in their centre that well.

In addition, they will ofc keep charging us every day's fee, while he does not attend.

State government's Education website indeed states the following:

Children with any signs of unwellness should stay home.

Anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 such as a fever or respiratory symptoms should have a COVID-19 test and self-isolateExternal link until a negative result is received and symptoms have cleared.

In my eyes, my centre is stretching the definition of "and symptoms have cleared" quite a bit to include a runny nose in a toddler.

Thoughts, opinions?


  • +10

    Most childcare places are private so they can set their own policies, even being more strict than state policies. If your child's snot is green then they are likely sick and I wouldnt want my child catching a cold from yours and having to do the same. If the runny nose is clear and definitely just because of allergies you can get your doctor to write a note explaining such as it would be okay. For example if a kid has a teary eye our doctors have to write a note saying it's not conjunctivitis but a blocked tear duct, they are not contagious and therefore should be able to go to childcare.

    • Yep, that's my line of thinking as well. My CCC has been lately being very frivolous in calling us to pick up the child just because it had a clear runny nose, regardless of doctor's papers stating he has a dust mite allergy.

      What rubs me the wrong way, is that they charge for a full day in that case as well, even though I do come back the next day with a doctor's clearance.

  • +7

    If it was someone else's kid with these symptoms, wouldn't you like to know for sure that they don't have Covid before being allowed to return to the Childcare Centre?

    • -1

      I don`t think you took time to understand my post mate. I have a problem with centres reserving the right to refuse child back in after a negative COVID test and doctor's clearance, only based on symptoms not clearing, as in a clear discharge from a nose of a child with dust mite allergy.

      • +8

        I don't think you took the time to understand the Covid test process.

        Once tested, you are in isolation until you get the all clear AND all symptoms have cleared.

        Early testing can show false negatives. The swab tests are not 100% accurate. The day care centre is just following the government's advice.

        Anyone with respiratory illness is meant to isolate indefinitely after a covid test…

        • +5

          I agree with this. Additionally, even if the runny nose is not covid, whatever virus it is can still make other people sick and they then need to get swabbed and take time off work/daycare

  • +1

    I thought runny nose was listed as a symptom of Covid

    Edit: yes - lists runny nose as a symptom.

    • -1

      Not the problem here mate - picked him up within minutes after getting that call. The problem I have is with the right CCC reserves to ignore a negative COVID test result and doctor's clearance the next day

  • +5

    Seems reasonable to me.
    But then again, it doesn't really matter what we think. The childcare centre has made a decision based on its interpretation of the government regulations in place at the time.

  • +2

    This is a policy for children at school too (although it is school holiday now) and even for people in workplaces, there are no exceptions even before this lockdown started.

    Most people will think it is just a cold, which might be the case.

    I hope it is just nothing and not covid.

  • Sounds standard issue as its always been when our kids went to daycars - thats pre-covid with green snot - come pick em up.

    • +1

      Not the problem here mate - picked him up within minutes after getting that call. The problem I have is with the right CCC reserves to ignore a negative COVID test result and doctor's clearance the next day.

  • +4

    clear runny nose - might be ok, could be dust might's, allegeries etc
    yellow, hmm starting to fight off an infection, still ok, could be cold

  • My childcare centres have never allowed sick children to attend. Nothing has changed during Covid in that regards. They do now require a clear Covid test if they are sick with possible Covid symptoms.

    • Does getting doctor's clearance mean the child is still sick? If not, then what is the point of giving a final say in that regard to a personnel which is not qualified to make such calls?

      • Runny nose = still potentially sick. Doctors clearance means almost nothing in that regard.

        • Runny nose can also mean dust allergy mate. My kid is confirmed by a specialist to have it. Plus the centre cleans up only a few times per week, instead of having an everyday regime in place.

  • Are you the kind of person who sits on a crowded train coughing and blowing your nose?

    • No, what gave you that impression? I clearly stated that I have a problem with CCC reserving a right to deny me a service they are charging me full price for AFTER giving them a negative COVID test result and a clearance from a doctor. Seems like CCC's manager knows more about health than the GP who states the kid is clear to go back.

      • “expectation for the child's runny nose to stop before they are returned to the centre seems like an overkill”.

        Further, people are still infectious after symptoms cease.

        Did you notice the symptoms before you sent the child to the centre?

        • Nope, he was fine in the morning - we did not even need to use an aspirator and saline water to help him out.

  • +3

    I can understand your frustrations … being charged while the kids is not in their care and not making any difference between a medical condition and real sickness… my kids have really bad asthma and hayfever and i stopped counting how many times i have to pull them out from school lately due to cough or sneezing.. but honnestly, i prefer having them in my own care while their sick than letting them in someone else care…it took my elder one 9 weeks to clear a cough .. but i would have not send my kid to school even with a medical certificate anw a negative covid test. As a parent i would have been horrified to know that a school let a kid coughing in the class. So, i applied to myself whati expect from others. Enjoy having your little one with you. It won t last.

  • +6

    If everyone didn’t send their children in sick, they all would be sick less of the time. I respect your childcare centre for enforcing this. Some of these viruses effect some kids more than others. We’ve had a serious problem with RSV in QLD recently, so much so it’s effected the ED and critical care capacity. A friend’s child was so unwell they had to be resuscitated and were tube fed for days - had they delayed their presentation they might have lost their little one. For most kids RSV is a snotty nose “just a cold” for others it’s life threatening. I’d recommend going to a clinic that does a respiratory panel along with COVID testing as things like influenza and RSV are actually super dangerous to some youngsters.

    I also hear a lot of things like, “oh it’s good for their immune system” etc realistically there are so many strains of each virus, plus ongoing mutations that being exposed to one virus just exposes them to yet another virus.

  • +2

    Green means your child is sick and not allergies. Keep them home until they are better. It’s just common sense, it’s a shame the CCC has to mandate it like this and it’s not just done willing.

    • +1

      Not the problem here mate - picked him up within minutes after getting that call. The problem I have is with the right CCC reserves to ignore a negative COVID test result and doctor's clearance the next day.

      • -1

        A negative COVID test only means that they don’t have COVID not that they aren’t sick and if a doctor is writing out a clearance that they are well enough to attend childcare when they still have a green runny nose I would be looking for a new doctor. My adult child who works with children was ill all last week because some parents won’t keep their children home when they are sick. You’ll get very little sympathy from me on this subject because I see the repercussions.
        Your problem is that you want to send your child back to childcare when they are still sick that is exactly what you are complaining about no matter how you try to defend it.

        • Doctor's clearance means that someone with actual medical training inspected my child and found him to be suitable to attend with other children, on the ground that he is not contagious. Opinion of someone who went through a medical school and years of practice are in my book above the word of an educator with Cert III. Come to think of it, above yours as well, since you also do not give me an impression of a healthcare professional.

          Your adult child works in an environment, where germs and viruses are present every single day, because children are by nature not hygenic until they are taught that. It is occupational hazard he/she is paid for, and you`ll get little sympathy from me on that front, since your child has elected to do this job, and as a proxy charges parents for that service so that they can do theirs'.

          • +7

            @Greem85: It’s always so delightful when someone posts on a public forum asking for thoughts and opinions only to totally disregard anyone’s opinion that does not align with theirs.
            Enjoy your day, I will be.

            • -2

              @Username not found: Always a delight to see someone not willing to address actual arguments being raised just pick up their toys and go with a frown.
              I always enjoy my days, not sure about you.

  • +2

    Bit rich charging for a child they're not caring for.
    However lets be honest, it is lost income to them, but given childcare centres are raking it in, not to mention heavily government subsidised, a bit of compassion from them wouldn't go astray.

  • +2

    My ex-wife ran Long Day Care Centres and some Pre-Schools for most of the time that we were married.

    Standard operating rules were that any child who displayed any signs of sickness would be excluded from the centre and then for a period of not less than 24 hours after all signs of the sickness had disappeared. It didn’t matter if a doctor’s certificate was provided or not. The same rules applied to the staff, whether they were in direct contact with the children or not.

    Full fees were charged for the days that the child did not attend the centre as they were (potentially) taking the space of a child who could have been attending the centre. If the parent(s) decided to withdraw the child from the centre, they were entitled to do that. If there was a waiting child (the usual scenario) no extra fees would be payable. If there were no children waiting (very unusual!) then they would have been required to pay for two weeks notice, from memory.

    The risk for parents was that by taking the child out and avoiding the fees when their child was not attending the centre, was that their child’s place at the centre was lost and they would be on a waiting list.

    Now, my children have all grown up now and my ex-wife no longer works in child care so I’m not up to date with current rules and practice. But my guess is that they have not relaxed very much. I could ask one of my daughters who has gone into child care. But she’s at work now and I can’t interrupt her whilst she is working.

    I don’t know if anything that I’ve said is helpful to you; I hope that I’ve given you some background.

    • Yes, thank you, that was very informative.

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