Employers, including schools, must destroy visitor and staff COVID-19 vaccination records by Thursday 10 August 2023.
This applies to any person who visited schools and had to disclose their vaccination status to enter the premises. This may include parents, carers, contractors, volunteers and casual relief teachers. The department will destroy COVID-19 vaccination certificates recorded on EduPay for teaching service employees.
Continue to retain student related COVID records until further notice.
As of 10 July 2023 schools are no longer required to record student cases of COVID-19 reported by parents or carers in the School COVID-19 Case Management Tool. This change is consistent with changes Department of Health made on 1 July 2023, removing the option for the community to self-report their rapid antigen test (RAT) results.
The department’s policy, guidance and advice has been updated to reflect these changed requirements. The information on PAL replaces the document titled COVID-19 Advice for Victorian Government Schools (previously known as the School Operations Guide).
Department policy, guidance and advice on school operations during COVID-19 is set out in the information outlined below.
COVIDSafe measures for schools
COVIDSafe measures have changed but all Victorian government schools are required to continue to implement important practices to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
Schools must continue to:
- ensure air purifiers are in use
- maximise external ventilation
- encourage good personal hygiene
- make face masks available for staff and visitors who wish to wear them.
The revised applies to all schools, outlines the key health and safety risks, and links to the latest guidance. Principals should ensure that staff, including new staff, are aware of their school’s COVIDSafe plan.
Staff and students are strongly recommended to ensure they keep up-to-date with all recommended and available COVID-19 vaccinations. Vaccinations are the best way to protect individuals, families and school communities from the severe effects of COVID-19 and reduce the spread of the virus.
Rapid antigen testing
It is recommended that rapid antigen tests (RATs) are used by students and staff who:
- have symptoms of COVID-19 infection, no matter how mild
- are a household or close contact of someone who has COVID-19
- are a social contact of someone who has COVID-19.
Schools can use the to order free personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, RATs, goggles, aprons and thermometers. Delivery is free for all Victorian government schools on a ‘first come’ basis.
Rapid antigen tests (RATs) are also available for all Victorians from council sites. People can get 2 free packs (10 tests) for themselves and 2 free packs (10 tests) for each of their household members.
People with disability and their carers can get up to 4 free packs (20 tests) in line with existing RAT distribution for people with disability.
Staff and students who wish to wear a face mask should be supported to do so, and schools must continue to make face masks available for staff, students and visitors.
The Department of Health recommends that masks should be worn by a person who:
- is a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 when leaving home
- has COVID-19 for at least 7 days after a positive test when they need to leave home.
Infection prevention and control
All staff, students and visitors to schools should practise good hand hygiene, particularly on arrival to school, before and after eating, after blowing their nose, coughing, sneezing or using the toilet. Staff should direct or supervise young students where required.
Management of COVID-19 in schools
It is recommended that staff members, students or visitors who have symptoms of cold, influenza or COVID-19 undergo testing for COVID-19. Parents of symptomatic students should be asked to collect their child from school and keep them home until they are no longer symptomatic.
The Department of Health recommends that staff and students who test positive for COVID-19 isolate for a minimum of 5 days and do not attend school until their symptoms resolve. If well enough, students should be supported in the same way as students with an extended absence due to illness or injury, with learning material provided to support their continued learning.
COVID-19 contacts for government schools
National COVID-19 phone line
A dedicated COVID-19 advice phone line is available for the general public:
Health and safety (staff)
Outside School Hours Care and other early childhood
Principals should contact their senior education improvement leader (SEIL) to discuss any queries.
Ventilation and air purification
Reviewed 02 November 2023