Coronavirus advice and information for AEU members

The coronavirus (COVID) pandemic is presenting unique and rapidly evolving challenges to all those working in public education. Your health and safety is the AEU’s highest priority at this time.

Updated 20 December 2021

Find the latest School Operations Guide here. (DET login required.)

Find the latest DET information for schools here.

Find the Department of Education and Training's list of FAQs here.

The department’s COVID-19 hotline is 1800 338 663.



The Victorian Chief Health Officer has determined that vaccination will be mandatory for staff who work in schools. This includes principals, teachers, administration and education support staff, including casual relief teachers (CRTs) and pre-service teachers.

All staff who work in schools were required to have a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by 18 October 2021 or be able to produce evidence of a vaccination booking within that week.

All staff are required to be fully vaccinated by 29 November 2021 unless a medical exemption applies and will be required to show evidence of their vaccination status.

Staff can access up to half a day’s paid release from duty to attend COVID-19 vaccine appointments. Schools are asked to exercise maximum flexibility in enabling you to make and attend vaccination appointments.

Management of COVID-19 cases

To better support schools to manage COVID-19 cases, the Department of Education and Training (DET) and the Department of Health have revised how COVID-19 cases will be managed in schools. The revised plan has been sent to schools.
Find the latest DET information here.

Leave arrangements

Between 18 October and 17 December 2021 (end of Term 4), employees who do not meet the vaccination requirements will not be able to attend work on site and will not be assigned alternative duties. During this period, any such employees will be able to access existing leave entitlements in accordance with the relevant leave policies. From 18 December 2021 until 27 January 2022, normal school holiday provisions will apply.

From 28 January 2022 (beginning Term 1), paid and unpaid leave entitlements will not be available to any employees who do not meet the vaccination requirements, and any further absence will be considered in line with Department’s Absent Without Leave policy, which may result in cessation of employment from 28 April 2022.

See DET's email with more information here.
Read the AEU's statement here.

COVID safety measures

Strong COVID-Safe measures – including ventilation, vaccination and other measures – will be in place to protect school communities and ensure schools can stay open.

More on safety measures here.

Masks are strongly encouraged for students as a way to ensure safety and limit the risk of transmission in school settings. Masks will remain mandatory for all adults and for students aged 12 and older. 

Schools have already implemented measures like staggered pick-up and drop-off times, QR code check-ins for any essential visitors, and as much physical distancing as is possible in classrooms – and, when students return, will limit mixing among year levels and use large spaces like halls and gyms where possible.

The use of Service Victoria QR codes for electronic record keeping remains mandatory in all schools to enable the effective contact tracing of any COVID-19 cases.

Rapid antigen testing

From Monday 15 November, the Department of Education will implement state-wide roll-out of a rapid antigen testing program for any students deemed Primary Close Contacts (PCCs) at any new COVID-19 exposures on school sites.

This program will use at-home rapid antigen testing to reduce quarantine time and enable an earlier return to school. This trial will enable unvaccinated or partially vaccinated students to return to school after a seven-day quarantine, instead of a 14-day quarantine.

Detailed information has been provided to school principals.

Early childhood

Find the latest DET information for early childhood here.

Quick links for specific information below:

Advice about safely managing ECEC services during COVID-19

COVID-Safe guidance for EC

Covid-safe plan for cleaning in early childhood settings [PDF]

Outbreak management communications kit

Kinder ventilation support funding

Mandatory vaccination:

The Victorian Chief Health Officer has determined that vaccination will be mandatory for staff who work in Early Childhood Education and Care.

From 18 October 2021, in order to work at a school, childcare (including outside school hours care services) or early education service, you must be able to provide evidence to your employer that you:

  • are fully vaccinated with two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, or
  • have received your first dose and have a booking to receive your second dose by 29 November 2021, or
  • haven't received any doses but have a booking to receive your first dose by 25 October 2021.

The only acceptable certification for the purpose of seeking a medical exemption will be an Australian Immunisation Register immunisation medical exemption form that is completed and signed by an authorised medical practitioner. Find more information here.

TAFE & Adult Provision

Find the latest DET information for TAP here.

More information

AEU member emails


Read more

Early childhood

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TAFE and Adult Provision

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All members

Read more

Victorian State Government advice

Department of Health and Human Services
Department of Education and Training advice
Victorian TAFE Association

Other advice

If members have specific inquiries, they should email [email protected] or contact the AEU directly on 1800 AEU VIC (1800 238 842). Due to high demand, there could be a delay in replying to emails - however, we are working to respond as quickly as possible.

The union will update advice to members as the situation changes.

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