Coronavirus advice

Last updated 13 October, 2021

COVID-19 restrictions continue to apply in Victoria.

A summary of restrictions for metropolitan Melbourne, regional Victoria and other Victorian Restricted Areas is available on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Victoria website.

The Victorian Government has announced a staggered return to face-to face learning for all students attending a school in regional Victoria or metropolitan Melbourne from the commencement of Term 4, 2021.

The settings are indicative only and are subject to change and public health advice.

Face masks

For all school settings, the Victorian Chief Health Officer:

  • Directs school staff and secondary school students aged 12 or older must always wear a face mask indoors and outdoors at school, including when attending an Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) program, unless a lawful exception applies.

  • Directs school staff and secondary school students aged 12 or older must always wear a face mask when travelling to and from school on public transport, taxis or ride share vehicles.

  • Directs school staff must wear face masks while teaching wherever practicable, except where removal of a face mask is necessary for effective communication.

  • Directs students in Grade 3 to 6 to wear a face mask only when indoors on school premises, including when attending an OSHC program, unless a lawful exception applies.

  • Strongly recommends that students in Foundation to Grade 2 wear a face mask indoors at school, including when attending an OSHC program.

There are a number of lawful reasons for not wearing a face mask, including for staff and students who are unable to wear a face mask due to the nature of their disability, medical or a mental health condition.

Parents, guardians and carers are required to supply their child(ren) with an appropriate face mask that covers the nose and mouth. Appropriate face masks include single use face masks (commonly called surgical masks) or cloth face masks made from three layers of a mix of breathable fabrics. Further information on face masks, including what face masks you can and can’t wear, can be accessed from the Coronavirus Victoria website.

Visitors including parents, guardians and carers

Visitors to schools, including parents, guardians, carers, contractors and parish clergy, must observe face mask requirements when attending a school, unless an exception applies.

Parents, guardians and carers will also be required to wear a face mask when dropping off or picking up their child(ren) or if required to collect an unwell child(ren) from the school.

Electronic record keeping (QR codes)

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

School playgrounds that are open to the public now require QR check in posters under the Restricted Activity Directions.

The public health intent of including schools in the QR code check-in system is to capture visitors accessing school buildings or indoor facilities, but not those entering the school grounds for reasons such as school pick-up.

QR codes are required to be used by:

  • all visitors, including contractors and volunteers

  • all parents who enter buildings when on the school site.

All visitors and parents must check-in using the QR code system if they enter a school building, even if they are visiting for less than 15 minutes.

QR code check ins are not required to be used by:

  • staff

  • students

  • parents who come onto school grounds for drop off or pick up, but do not enter buildings.

For anyone who is not able to check in with a smartphone or tablet, schools will make reasonable efforts to ensure there is an alternative method to electronically check in to the Victorian Government QR Code Service.

VCE Examinations

VCE examinations will take place between 4 October and 17 November 2021.

Case locations, outbreaks, and COVID-19 Testing

The Department of Health provides a list of locations where there is a risk that people may have been exposed to COVID-19. It is not a complete list. The information is based on advice provided to the Department of Health by people who are confirmed cases. Risk locations will remain on the list for 14 days from the most recent exposure.

The list of Case alerts - public exposure sites on the Department of Health website should be monitored. If you have been to any of the locations listed at the specified times you should:

  • follow the specific advice listed for that exposure site

  • contact the Department of Health on 1300 651 160. (Due to the large number of exposure sites recently published, there is a significant delay on this phone line.)

Information about COVID-19 testing is available on the Department of Health website, including the location of testing centres.

Health and wellbeing

We encourage all staff and students to continue taking precautions to protect their health and wellbeing.

  • Continue to practice good hand and respiratory (cough/sneeze) hygiene.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or when this is not possible, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser on arrival at school and regularly throughout the day.

  • Do not attend school if you are unwell.

If families need extra support, they should contact their school for a confidential discussion.

People who have any symptoms of COVID-19, however mild, should seek medical advice and get tested immediately. The symptoms to watch out for are:

  • loss or change in sense of smell or taste

  • fever

  • chills or sweats

  • cough

  • sore throat

  • shortness of breath

  • runny nose

In certain circumstances people may also experience headache, muscle soreness, stuffy nose, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Staff and families are also encouraged to monitor the Case alerts - public exposure sites on the Department of Health website and follow the requirements in relation to public exposure sites.