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.

Refer to the School Update 25 July 2023 editionExternal Link (staff login required) for the department’s advice on how to safely destroy this information.

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.

COVIDSafe Plan

The revised COVID-19 Safety Management Plan (COVIDSafe Plan) 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.


For information about maximising ventilation in schools, including the appropriate use and placement of air purifiers, refer to the department’s Ventilation and Air Purification policy and the How to use an air purifier fact sheet.

Schools are encouraged to use the Promoting airflow posters in classrooms.

For further assistance, contact the Victorian School Building Authority on 1800 896 950 or email


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.

As of 7 May 2024, RATs are no longer supplied free to all government schools, consistent with the closure of other programs offering free RAT distribution to the public.

Schools that require RATs can purchase them through COS, the State Purchasing Contract supplier for office supplies. Schools wishing to access COS can refer to the ‘stationery’ section of the Department managed categories webpageExternal Link (staff login required).

Specialist schools continue to have access to free RATs supplied by the department. To order, please email:

Schools can use the online formExternal Link to order free personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, face shields, goggles, gowns, aprons and thermometers. Delivery is free for all Victorian government schools on a ‘first come’ basis.

Schools seeking further information should contact Schools Procurement Branch via

Face masks

Current advice from the Department of Health is available at COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control GuidelinesExternal Link .

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.

Schools must treat health information, including positive COVID-19 test results, in accordance with the Schools’ Privacy Policy. COVID-19 diagnoses are not to be shared or discussed unless the individual (or their parent/carer) provides consent, or unless schools are legally obliged or authorised to do so. Further guidance on the handling of health care information can be found in the department’s Privacy and Information Sharing policy in the Health information guidance chapter.

A range of other resources on school management of COVID-19 are linked from the Resources tab for this topic.

COVID-19 contacts for government schools

NURSE-ON-CALL phone line

A dedicated nurse advice phone line that can assist with COVID-19 health enquiries is available for the general public.

Phone: 1300 60 60 24
Hours: 24 hours 7 days a week


For further assistance with cleaning advice, email


For the School Financial Management Support Unit, phone 03 7022 2222 or email

Health and safety (staff)

For further assistance with staff health and safety advice, phone 1300 074 715 or email

Human resources

For further information about human resources (including leave) and COVID-19 staff vaccination, phone 1800 641 943.

Media unit

For support with media matters, phone 03 8688 7776.

Outside School Hours Care and other early childhood

For support, phone 1300 307 415 or email


For questions about the delivery or supply of rapid antigen tests or facemasks for your school, contact

Regional contacts

Principals can contact their senior education improvement leader (SEIL) to discuss any queries.

Student transport

For further student transport advice, email or phone 03 7022 2247.

Ventilation and air purification

For further assistance with ventilation and air purification advice, contact the Victorian School Building Authority on 1800 896 950 or email

Department COVID-19 operational advice for schools

Reviewed 13 May 2024

Policy last updated

14 May 2024


  • Schools


There are multiple contacts for this topic. Refer to the ‘COVID-19 contacts for government schools’ section for details.

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