School operations

Staged return to on-site schooling

Following advice from the Victorian Chief Health Officer, Victorian schools have returned to on-site schooling.

Return to school operations guide

The Department has developed a Return to School Operations Guide  (education login required) to support schools manage the return to on-site schooling across Victoria.

The guide includes key operational information and advice to help guide school leaders in implementing a successful return to face-to-face teaching in the classroom.

Returning to work on-site

From and including Monday 25 May, teachers and school staff are expected to attend work on-site. The only exceptions will be staff who meet the criteria set by the Victorian Chief Health Officer and outlined below:

  • aged 70 years and over
  • aged 65 years and over and have chronic medical conditions
  • of any age and have a compromised immune system
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and are aged over 50 with chronic medical conditions.

Staggered start and finish times

In metropolitan, regional and rural schools where there is any risk of congregation at school entry and exit points, schools must introduce staggered drop-off and pick-up times.

Parents must enter the school grounds only when essential. If they do have to be on site, they must minimise their time and practice physical distancing.

School breakfast clubs

As the staged return to an onsite learning environment begins, schools should restart the delivery of the School Breakfast Clubs program on site.

Find out more about restarting School Breakfast Clubs on site, including cooking classes.

Outdoor education schools, camps and language schools

School camps can reopen from 11:59pm on 21 June, aligned with the opening of holiday accommodation communal facilities including shared kitchens and bathrooms.

Accommodation providers, including privately operated school camps, outdoor education schools, and camps operated by individual schools and the Department of Education and Training can accept school group bookings consistent with typical class/year level sizes. They are not bound by public gathering limits.

Health and safety precautions will be required, with guidance to operators and schools to be issued shortly.

The Victorian School of Languages (VSL) and community language schools (CLSs) will remain closed for face-to-face provision until further advice is received.

School sport and sporting facilities

Sport and recreation

In line with community advice, reasonable precautions are still advised to reduce the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission in the context of sport and recreation.

Playground equipment can be used, however students should be directed to practise hand hygiene before and after use. Playgrounds can be made available for community use out of school hours.

Outdoor facilities are preferred for the purpose of physical education and recreational play. Where indoor facilities are used, please limit the number of students.

Non-contact sports should be encouraged. Hand hygiene must be practised before and after use of any sporting equipment.

Swimming and aquatic facilities

It is recommended that schools do not use local swimming pools outside school grounds for school swimming programs at this time.

Swimming pools and aquatic facilities on school grounds can be used, with the following safety measures in place:

  • Only one class group of students should use the pool at a time.
  • All students must shower with soap and water prior to using the pool.
  • Use of the changing facilities should be staggered to limit the number of students occupying the changing rooms at one time.
  • Changing facilities need to be cleaned a minimum of twice daily.

Hydrotherapy pools on school grounds can be used for the purpose of therapeutic programs for students, with changing facilities to be cleaned a minimum of twice daily.

Inter-school sport

All interschool sporting events and competitions have been be postponed until further notice.

Some interschool sporting events and competitions have been cancelled and will not run in 2020. School Sport Victoria is providing updates on specific interschool sporting events and competitions.

Resumption of interschool sport is dependent on advice from the Department of Health and Human Services that it considered safe to do so.

Sporting clubs or community groups

From Monday 29 June, in addition to use of outdoor facilities on school property (permitted since 2 June), schools may also approve the use of indoor facilities on school property if use aligns with Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) advice.

For detailed information and conditions of use, visit: Use of school facilities by sporting clubs or community groups.

School cleaning

Schools have been supported to implement enhanced cleaning, including cleaning throughout the day of high-touch surfaces such as bathrooms and door handles.

For detailed information about space requirements, access to cleaning supplies and services, and detailed information about items and areas included in extended cleaning, visit: Access to cleaning supplies and services.

Personal hygiene products

The Department is actively working with product suppliers and cleaning providers to maintain supply of personal hygiene products such as toilet paper, soap and hand sanitiser.

To ensure your school has sufficient supply of hygiene products, visit: Access to cleaning supplies and services

Deep cleaning of schools impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19)

Where schools are directly impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19), the Department will work with the school to undertake a deep clean of the facility.

For detailed information, visit: Access to cleaning supplies and services

School council meetings

For advice on school council meeting operations during coronavirus (COVID-19) visit School council meetings

School canteens

Schools should ensure the highest hygiene practices amongst food handlers where these services are operating, as per the Department's Safe Food Handling policy. Sharing of food should not occur.