Coronavirus (COVID-19)

COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus affecting humans. Australian Government agencies are working with states and territories to implement measures to manage the risk of COVID-19.

This page will help students, parents, and education providers, as well as job seekers and employers find the information they need to make informed decisions about managing risk associated with COVID-19.

This page is regularly updated.
Information was last updated on Monday 30 March 2020.

Latest advice

On 22 March 2020 the Prime Minister gave a statement about schools:

Statement on schools

“…All leaders agreed that children should go to school tomorrow [23 March 2020]. Leaders agreed that we cannot see children lose an entire year of their education as a result of school closures caused by COVID-19.

Leaders committed to the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) advice that says that it is safe to keep schools open.

Leaders also thanked all teachers and school staff for their support.

State Premiers and Chief Ministers agreed that schools will remain open through to the end of the current school terms to support students whose parents choose to send their children to school. Victoria’s school break will commence on Tuesday 24 March 2020.

All Leaders have committed to re-open schools at the end of the school break, subject to the advice of the Australian Health Principal Protection Committee.

If parents choose to keep their children home from school, parents must be responsible for the conduct of the children and to ensure they adhere to the social distancing arrangements in place. Parents must be aware that while the majority of adults who contract COVID-19 have mild forms of the virus, the elderly or those with co-morbidities can have more significant symptoms.

Schools will be encouraged to provide access to online and distance learning...”

To read the full statement please visit the Prime Minister’s website.

As of 26 March 2020, the following changes have been announced:

  • Queensland – pupil free days will commence on Monday 30 March through to the school holidays (end of Friday 3 April).
  • South Australia – pupil free days will commence on Monday 6 April through to the school holidays (end of 9 April).
  • Tasmania – pupil free days will commence on Monday 6 April through to the school holidays (end of 9 April).
  • Western Australia – formal classes will end on Friday 3 April, with families encouraged to keep their children at home from Monday 30 March.
  • Victoria – school break will commence on Tuesday 24 March 2020.
  • ACT – pupil free days will commence on Tuesday 24 March through to the school holidays (9 April 2020).

Refer to the relevant state or territory education authority website for further information.

Updates will be made to this page as more information becomes available.

A message for the school community

The expert medical advice is that schools should remain open at this time.

Posted by Dan Tehan MP on Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Factsheets and general advice

Information from the Department of Health

The Department of Health provides the latest medical advice in relation to COVID-19. You can also find out the outbreak is being monitored and responded to, as well as how you can help stop the spread of COVID-19, by visiting their website

Information from the Department of Education, Skills and Employment

Information for schools

Schools (both government and non-government) are encouraged to contact their respective state and territory education authority regarding:

  • all proposed closures
  • staff and students in self-isolation
  • changes to travel plans for staff and students
  • any changes to operating practices arising from their response to COVID-19.

Decisions to close schools are a matter for the relevant education authorities (state and territory governments for government schools, school systems where relevant, and individual independent schools). This decision is to be made on the basis of the best medical advice, and medical advice that is directly relevant to the specific circumstances of the particular school.

Please refer to the latest advice to the education sector from AHPPC via the Department of Health’s website.

The outdoor and indoor gathering restrictions announced by the Australian Government do not apply to schools.

However, schools that remain operational should implement other social distancing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These include:

  • If your child is sick, do not send them to school (or childcare)
  • Sanitise hands when entering school and at regular intervals
  • Defer activities that lead to mixing between classes and years
  • Avoid queuing and consider cancelling school assemblies
  • Promote a regular handwashing schedule
  • Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces regularly
  • Conduct lessons outdoors where possible
  • Consider opening windows and adjusting conditioning for more ventilation
  • Promote strictest hygiene among food preparation (canteen) staff and their close contact

Students and staff must self-isolate for 14 days if they are returning from overseas travel or have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19. They must not attend school during this isolation period.

Please see the Department of Health Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources for more information about social distancing and self-isolation.

Information about NAPLAN

Education Ministers met on 20 March 2020 and decided that NAPLAN will not proceed in 2020. The NAPLAN test window was scheduled to be held from 12 to 22 May.

The decision to not proceed with NAPLAN in 2020 has been taken to assist school leaders, teachers and support staff to focus on the wellbeing of students and continuity of education, including potential online and remote learning. Further, the impact of responses to the COVID-19 virus may affect the delivery of NAPLAN testing, including the operation of centralised marking centres and the implications for nationally comparable data if an insufficient number of students are available to do the test.

Further detail regarding this decision is available.

Further health information applicable to schools and early childhood centres please see:

Information for early childhood education and care providers and services

The health and safety of all Australians, including children using early childhood education and care services and staff in the sector is of utmost importance.

The below information sheet covers:

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment is holding regular coronavirus (COVID-19) information sessions for early childhood education and care providers and services. The most recent session was 26 March 2020.

Information for vocational education and training (VET) providers

The Australian Government is supporting small businesses to retain their apprentices and trainees through a wage subsidy. Find out about Support for Apprentices and Trainees. The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) is committed to working with providers during this difficult time. Find out about their latest regulatory advice.

Information for employers

Information for employment service providers and job seekers

Information for higher education providers

The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) is working with providers to minimise the impact COVID-19 has on both providers and students. Find out about their latest regulatory advice.

Information on travel ban exemptions for year 11 and 12 students in mainland China

Information for international students

A list of the number of student visa holders who may be affected by the travel restrictions or home isolation requirements due to COVID-19 is available on the International Education website.

Information for Education Authorities and Designated State Authorities (DSAs)

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment is regularly meeting with state and territory counterparts to best prepare the Australian education, skills and training community to mitigate and manage the risks of COVID-19. For more information see Minister Tehan’s media release.

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