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. They will be provided for the first four weeks of Term 2, and distribution will commence from Wednesday 6 April. Testing recommendations will remain the same – students and staff in primary and secondary schools testing at home twice a week, and those in special schools encouraged to test five days each week due to the higher risk for medically vulnerable children.
 

Face masks

It is no longer required for face masks to be worn in any 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.


Vaccination

Vaccination is 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 must have received a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by 25 February 2022 if eligible, or within 3 months and 2 weeks of receiving a second dose, to continue working in education settings.  

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.

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.

Leave arrangements

From 28 January 2022 (beginning Term 1), leave entitlements will not be available to any employees who do not meet the vaccination requirements, and any 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.

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 of 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.

Masks are strongly encouraged for students as a way to ensure safety and limit the risk of transmission in school settings. Workers, visitors, and students in Grade 3 to 6 in an indoor space at a primary school (including outside school hours services at a primary school) must wear a mask.

Schools have already implemented measures like staggered pick-up and drop-off times, check-ins for any essential visitors, and as much physical distancing as is possible in classrooms.

 

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. They will be provided for the first four weeks of Term 2, and distribution will commence from Wednesday 6 April. Testing recommendations will remain the same – All staff, and children aged three to five, are strongly encouraged to test twice a week, and isolate for seven days if they return a positive test.

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.

Mandatory vaccination:

All staff must have received a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by 25 February 2022 if eligible, or within 3 months and 2 weeks of receiving a second dose, to continue 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 now 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.

In this section

WORKPLACE ISSUE?
WE CAN HELP

GET STARTED

Let's do this
TOGETHER

Join today

Have you recently transitioned to @education email and would you like to change email address for membership?