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.

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

Find the latest DET information for schools here.

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

Schools

Rapid antigen tests

The Victorian Government will continue to provide free RATs for voluntary surveillance testing to families and staff in both schools and early childhood settings.

Face masks

It is strongly recommended by the Victorian Department of Health that face masks are worn in indoor settings, with face masks mandatory for those aged 8 and over when in class, except where removing a mask is necessary for clear communication or when a particular activity requires the removal of a mask.

Masks are not required to be worn outdoors but can be worn when physical distancing is not possible. This expectation should not constrain student participation in the full range of school activities, including music, sport and performances.

Any staff member who wishes to wear a mask should do so.

Exemptions for testing and isolation

The period of time when someone is considered a recently confirmed case and therefore exempt from testing and isolation requirements has been reduced from the previous 12 weeks to 4 weeks.

This means that staff and children who are household contacts of people with COVID-19 are now required to undertake the testing and isolation requirements from 4 weeks after completing isolation with COVID-19. After the 4-week exemption period, students and staff members who are a household contact of a new COVID-19 case must follow the rules for household contacts, including reporting this to their school. As part of this they must take 5 rapid antigen tests (RATs) over 7 days and receive negative test results and wear a face mask (if over 8 years old) in indoor spaces.

Families and staff will also have to report being a household contact to their school after this 4-week period.

Vaccination

The vaccine mandate has ceased for principals, teachers, administration and education support staff, including casual relief teachers (CRTs) and pre-service teachers. 

Close contact rules

The government has provided an exemption for school staff who are household contacts and who are asymptomatic to return to work during the home isolation period. The AEU does not support the close contact exemption, as attendance at work by affected school staff is likely to increase the risk of transmission and potentially compromise the safety of the school community. Members who are deemed a close contact and who are asymptomatic are advised to remain in isolation for the full period required, rather than return to work. 

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.

 

Early childhood

Quick links for specific information below:

Find the latest DET information for early childhood here

Outbreak management communications kit

Kinder ventilation support funding

Rapid antigen tests

The Victorian Government will continue to provide free RATs for voluntary surveillance testing to families and staff in both schools and early childhood settings. 

Face masks

It is no longer required for face masks to be worn in any ECEC or school setting, but it is highly recommended. Any student or staff member who wishes to wear a mask should do so, including those who are medically at-risk. If an ECEC service experiences high levels of or prolonged transmission, face masks may be required as an additional temporary risk mitigation measure.

Vaccination

The vaccine mandate has ceased for those working in education settings. Parents, carers and other adult visitors who are not onsite to work are no longer required to show evidence of two doses of the vaccine.

 

TAFE & Adult Provision

The Victorian government is encouraging all Victorians to get their COVID-19 third dose (or "booster" dose) as soon as they are eligible, to keep up their immunity and help stop the spread of coronavirus in the community.

Third doses are recommended for anyone aged 18 and over who had their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine three or more months ago.

As announced on 21 January, public sector employees can access up to half a day’s paid time off to get their third dose, as was the arrangement when receiving their first two doses. The arrangements apply to full-time and part-time staff and long-term casuals at Victorian TAFEs. 

Adult visitors who are not onsite to work are no longer required to show evidence of two doses of the vaccine, however, anyone undertaking placements must continue to adhere to the vaccination mandate applicable to their sector.

Face masks

It is no longer required for face masks to be worn in any TAFE and Adult Provision setting, but it is highly recommended. Any student or staff member who wishes to wear a mask should do so, including those who are medically at-risk.

Find the latest DET information for TAFE here.


More information

AEU member emails

Schools

Read more

Early childhood

Read more

TAFE and Adult Provision

Read more

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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