AHN COVID-19 Safety Policy

AHN COVID-19 Safety Policy

Note: This policy may be updated at any time. Please check back regularly for new information.

What Is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a virus that emerged in late 2019.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring hospitalisation. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems, are more likely to develop serious illness.


The following symptoms are based on advice from healthdirect.

Mild symptoms:

  • Congested or runny nose, sneezing, or a scratchy or sore throat
  • cough with no difficulty breathing
  • new aches and pains, or lethargy or weakness without shortness of breath
  • mild headache
  • mild fever that responds to treatment
  • loss of smell or taste
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • occasional vomiting or diarrhoea
  • not drinking as much fluid (such as water) as usual in the last 24 hours

Moderate symptoms:

  • shortness of breath while walking around
  • persistent fever above 38oC that’s not responding to treatment
  • persistent worsening cough that regularly produces mucus
  • struggling to get out of bed and feeling dizzy or weak
  • vomiting or diarrhoea (more than 4 times in the last 24 hours, of either)

Severe Symptoms:

  • breathlessness at rest and/or you’re unable to speak in sentences
  • being unconscious, fainting or drowsy
  • skin turning blue or pale
  • cold and clammy, or pale and mottled, skin
  • pain or pressure in the chest lasting more than 10 minutes
  • confusion
  • passing no urine or a lot less urine than usual
  • coughing up blood

How it spreads

The virus can spread through:

  • close contact with an infectious person
  • contact with droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze
  • touching objects or surfaces that have droplets from an infected person, and then touching your mouth or face.

What Do I Need To Do To Stay Safe?

Check local advice where you live, study and work. Do it all!

There are ways that we can all help stop the spread of viruses:

  1. Wash your hands often, or use hand sanitiser containing 60-80% alcohol when soap and water is not available.
  2. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. If you do not have a tissue, cough, or sneeze into your bent elbow.
  3. Try not to touch your face.
  4. Do not shake hands.
  5. Stay home if you’re unwell.
  6. Social distance. This means 2 big steps away.

Household cleaning is important.

  • Ensure appropriate cleaning and disinfecting of the guest’s room and communal areas is carried out prior to the commencement of each placement (Safe Work Australia has some handy tips around cleaning during the COVID-19 pandemic)
  • Frequently clean and disinfect surfaces that are used often such as benchtops, desks and doorknobs
  • Frequently clean and disinfect objects that are used often such as dishes, cutlery, remote controls, mobile phones, keys, wallets and work passes
  • Increase the amount of fresh air by opening windows or changing air conditioning filters
  • Regular cleaning of the entire home is important to reduce the spread of germs

You can call the National Coronavirus Helpline at any time for advice and support on 1800 020 080.

Managing COVID-19

What Happens of a Guest or Host is Unwell Prior to a Placement Commencing?

If a guest is unwell and/or has been exposed to COVID-19, they will be required to postpone their arrival for the placement. They will need to follow local health recommendations (see below) and provide a negative COVID test prior to arriving in the home.

If a host is unwell and/or has been exposed to COVID-19 prior to a guest arriving at their home, the placement will need to be canceled and the guest placed with an alternative host to avoid putting the guest at risk of contracting the virus.

When You or Someone in Your Home is Sick During a Placement

If any residents or guests have COVID-19 symptoms they should test, even if symptoms are mild.

If a member of the host family or a guest in an AHN placement tests positive to COVID-19 – or is a close contact of someone with COVID-19 – that person must take precautions and follow local health recommendations as below. 

Taking precautions:

While isolation is no longer a legal requirement, it is advisable to stay at home if you test positive for COVID-19.

To help protect those around you:

  • stay away from other people in the home as much as possible to reduce their exposure to COVID-19
  • keep 1.5 metres away and avoiding close contact
  • sleep in a separate room where possible
  • use a separate bathroom where possible
  • avoid shared areas where possible
  • wear a mask when you must use shared areas
  • avoid non-essential visitors and advise any visitors of your illness
  • avoid contact with people who are at higher risk of severe disease
  • work from home where possible
  • avoid going to school, public areas, or travel on public transport, in taxis or ride-share services
  • practice good hygiene
  • follow your local health department’s advice if you need to leave the home

COVID-19 health information in your state / territory:

Australian Capital Territory
New South Wales
Northern Territory
South Australia
Western Australia

The Australian Department of Health and Aged Care also provides useful advice.

Seeking medical advice

The local AHN office should be contacted if a person in a homestay placement tests positive for COVID-19, or if there is an upcoming placement within the next 7 days.

If the guest is under the age of 18, the homestay host must contact the student’s school to inform them of the student’s illness and advise of any time off.

As per healthdirect, most mild cases of COVID-19 can be managed by resting, taking over-the-counter pain relief, maintaining a healthy diet, and staying hydrated.

A GP should be contacted if the person who is sick answers no to any of the following questions:

  • Can I get my own food?
  • Can I drink?
  • Can I go to the toilet normally?
  • Can I take my regular medication (if applicable)?

Call 000 immediately if the person who is sick experiences any of the following:

  • breathlessness at rest or unable to speak in sentences
  • unconscious, faint or drowsy
  • skin or lips turning blue or pale
  • cold and clammy, or pale and mottled, skin
  • pain or pressure in the chest
  • confusion
  • becoming difficult to wake up
  • not passing urine (wee) or passing a lot less urine than usual
  • coughing up blood

Important Notice

All participants must commit to COVID-safe practices to help safeguard the health and wellbeing of everyone in the homestay.

As the transmission of COVID-19 may occur in a variety of ways and circumstances, and despite the best efforts and precautions taken, AHN cannot be held responsible if a guest or member of a host family is exposed to COVID-19 during a placement.

Reviewed: March 2024