education.vic.gov.au

School operations

Ventilation and Air Purification

Room risk rating and management strategies

This guidance outlines the risk levels of possible airborne infectious disease transmission in the different types of school spaces and contains strategies that schools are recommended to adopt to manage the risks. Schools are encouraged to observe these room-specific risk management strategies in addition to the general risk management strategies outlined in the COVID-19 — School Operations Advice.

These strategies are additional to the ventilation and air purification processes that are detailed in the Policy tab. Windows and doors should be open as much as possible in all rooms.

The department has provided additional air purifiers to schools to cover all higher risk throughout the year.

Higher risk rooms

General purpose classrooms

Anticipated level of risk

Higher risk

Rationale

Staff and students are in the room for extended periods of time

Other risk management strategies for classrooms

Discourage large congregations with close physical contact between students

Staff rooms

Anticipated level of risk

Higher risk

Rationale

High levels of mixing of staff and reduced mask use when eating

Other risk management strategies for staff rooms
  • Encourage staff to avoid large congregations with close contact when practical
  • Make available surface disinfectant wipes for staff to wipe down tables after use

Student centres

Anticipated level of risk

Higher risk

Rationale

High levels of mixing of students and limited physical distancing

Other risk management strategies for student centres

Discourage large congregations with close physical contact between students

Canteens

Anticipated level of risk
  • Higher risk (indoor canteens)
  • Medium risk (outdoor canteens)
Rationale

High levels of mixing of students and limited physical distancing

Other risk management strategies for canteens

Use ground markings to promote physical distancing when lining up

Music spaces

Anticipated level of risk

Higher risk

Rationale

Higher risk due to increased aerosol projection

Other risk management strategies for music spaces
  • Encourage students to maintain physical distancing where practical
  • Clean and wipe down shared equipment (for example, keyboards, drums, microphone handles)

Physical education (PE) spaces

Anticipated level of risk
  • Higher risk (indoor PE spaces)
  • Low risk (outdoor spaces)
Rationale

Higher risk due to physical exertion and increased aerosol projection

Other risk management strategies for PE spaces
  • Reduce equipment sharing if feasible and promote hand hygiene (hand sanitiser or washing of hands) before and after PE classes
  • Discourage spitting onto the ground or field

ICT/technology spaces

Anticipated level of risk

Higher risk

Rationale

Staff and students are in the room for extended periods of time

Other risk management strategies for ICT/technology spaces
  • Wipe down keyboards, mouses and touched buttons after each use with disinfectant wipes, do not use spray direct on computers or accessories
  • Spread out computer spaces to enable physical distancing, where possible

Laboratories

Anticipated level of risk

Higher risk

Rationale

Staff and students are in the room for extended periods of time

Other risk management strategies for laboratories

May need to provide appropriate non-alcohol-based hand rub in these settings as alcohol is flammable

Medium risk rooms

Sick bays and first aid rooms

Anticipated level of risk

Medium risk (on the condition the below protocols are met for these spaces)

Rationale

Exposure to illness but with infection control protocols in place

Other risk management strategies for sick bays and first aid rooms
  • The information in the department's advice, Management of students displaying COVID-19 symptoms in education settingsExternal Link (staff login required), sets out a range of health and safety controls to reduce transmission risk when a student is required to isolate at school before being collected by a parent/carer, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff. The door to the isolation area should be closed.
  • Isolation spaces must be left unoccupied for one hour following use, with the door closed to allow aerosols to settle before cleaning and disinfection. If windows or doors open to the outside, these should remain open to increase ventilation of the space.
  • A poster saying ‘do not enter until [time]’ should be placed on the door.

Libraries

Anticipated level of risk

Medium risk

Rationale

High levels of mixing of students, however, there is noise control so less respiratory droplet production

Other risk management strategies for libraries
  • Physical distancing of seats and desk spaces where practical
  • Have hand sanitiser available at the entrance and at the librarian desk to promote hand hygiene

Travel or cloakroom spaces

Anticipated level of risk

Medium risk

Rationale

High levels of mixing of students but for short time periods

Other risk management strategies for travel or cloakroom spaces

Stagger students entering the classroom and using cloakrooms to maintain physical distancing

Reception spaces

Anticipated level of risk

Medium risk

Rationale

Symptomatic students may present unwell in these areas prior to transferring to isolation rooms, but for short periods of time

Other risk management strategies for reception spaces

Add perspex screens in the office/reception area

Offices

Anticipated level of risk

Medium risk

Rationale

Occupants may be in space for extended periods of time, but with greater capacity for physical distancing

Other risk management strategies for offices

Physical distancing of desk spaces where practical

Lower risk rooms

Storerooms

Anticipated level of risk

Lower risk

Rationale

Used for brief periods of time and can be restricted to limit access

Other risk management strategies for storerooms

Physical distancing

Toilets and amenities

Anticipated level of risk

Lower risk

Rationale

Used for short periods of time with less mixing of staff or students

Other risk management strategies for toilets and amenities
  • Ensure that soap dispensers are filled
  • Display posters to promote good hand hygiene
  • Operate exhaust fans during school hours if available
  • Provide hand towels to dry hands (with a bin available) or working hand dryers
Includes information on anticipated levels of risk for different room types and risk management strategies

Reviewed 24 October 2022

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