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COVID safe for education

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Information for parents and carers, schools and early childhood education and care services (early childhood services) about creating and maintaining a COVID safe environment and maintaining health and hygiene.

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​​​​​Managing illness

Children or staff showing signs of illness or feeling unwell must stay at home.

Anyone who has been suffering from illness should only return to their school or early childhood service once they are no longer showing signs of illness.

If a child develops symptoms whilst at school, their parent or carer will be contacted and asked to collect them as soon as possible.

Standard hygiene measures

It is important that schools and early childhood services continue to implement a high level of health and hygiene measures, including:

  • regular handwashing and hand sanitising in line with the 5 moments of hand hygiene, particularly before and after eating, and after going to the toilet. Watch the instructional video for guidance
  • covering the mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing and sneezing, or coughing into the elbow, disposing of tissues in the bin and washing hands thoroughly afterwards
  • ensuring sufficient soap, water and hand sanitiser stations, as well as tissues, are available
  • increased cleaning of facilities, particularly high-frequency touchpoints such as door handles, light switches, desks and water fountains or bubblers
  • regular cleaning of playground equipment and play materials
  • display Queensland Health’s stop the spread of germs poster (PDF, 109KB)
  • open windows to promote air flow where environmental conditions, such as cold weather, allow.

Additional hygiene measures

Food handling

Food handlers, such as school tuckshop workers, must follow effective hygiene measures at all times.

In early childhood services, food handlers should practise hygiene as per NHMRC guidance in staying healthy: preventing infectious diseases in early childhood education and care services.

Cash handling

It is strongly recommended that payments for services and activities (such as excursions, tuckshops, uniform shops or fundraisers) are made electronically.

Where it is necessary to handle cash, staff must practise good hand hygiene, including washing their hands or using hand sanitiser once the transaction has been completed.

Shared equipment at school

Standard cleaning and hygiene management is required for shared equipment, such as practical workshop resources, Industrial Technology and Design (ITD) resources, musical instruments, computer devices and accessories, as well as sports equipment used within the school, or equipment loaned to students to take home.

Health support procedures for state schools

All state schools, including special schools, must implement student health plans and ensure student health support procedures are performed as required.

Employees must use gloves at all times when providing student health supports. Other personal protective equipment (PPE) may be required for certain health procedures.

For advice regarding the type of PPE required for a specific health support procedure, including correct use, please consult with your State School's registered nurse. More information is available on the personal protective equipment for health support procedure fact sheet (PDF, 120KB) available in the managing students' health support needs at school procedure.

Cleaning

State schools have high standards of well-established hygiene protocols and cleaning of their facilities (departmental employees only). Cleaning will prioritise frequently used areas with extra attention on high-touch point surfaces, such as door handles, light switches, desks, toilets, taps and sinks. This also includes sick rooms and student or child service areas.

The two-step precautionary clean – involving a daily normal hygienic clean using Astra (general cleaning) and Hercules (amenities), followed by sanitising (Concept), is sufficient for schools and other workplaces to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. For more information, see the daily hygienic cleaning in state schools fact sheet (PDF, 116KB) (departmental employees only).

The Queensland Government continues to support additional cleaning hours for schools, over and above the standard school cleaning allocation that has been in place throughout the pandemic. The increased cleaning hours take account of site or building difficulty factors and will continue to the end of Term 4, 2022.

Ventilation

Effective ventilation is an important measure in minimising transmission of infection.

The department has carefully considered expert advice from health authorities, Safe Work Australia, the World Health Organisation, the Doherty Institute and actions taken by other states and territories to inform this advice to schools.

Ventilation of learning spaces can be provided naturally (through opening of windows and doors when safe to do so, or relocating learning to outdoor settings) or mechanically, via ventilation and air conditioning systems that introduce fresh air from outside.

Ventilation assessments

The department supports schools to assess ventilation in classrooms depending on local conditions.

The department will continue to work with relevant experts and schools to support the implementation of additional ventilation measures to minimise the transmission of infection in a school environment.

Ventilate with outdoor air

Our excellent Queensland weather means that ventilation of learning spaces can often occur naturally by opening windows and doors, or relocating learning to outdoor settings.

Opening windows, where it is safe to do so and weather permitting, can help to bring in more fresh air to increase natural ventilation.

Increasing fresh air flow by having a number of windows partially open, rather than one window fully open, can help to maximise natural ventilation across the room without causing discomfort.

Do not open windows or doors if doing so poses a safety or health risk (such as falling or triggering asthma symptoms). Also consider conducting activities, classes or lunches outdoors when circumstances allow.

Air conditioning

Ensure air conditioners are maintained, clean and functioning properly. Systems should be serviced regularly and filters checked, cleaned and replaced according to manufacturer's instructions.

Where possible, ensure air conditioner settings draw air from outside and are not set to recirculate indoor air.

The department's $477 million Cooler Cleaner Schools Program will ensure that every classroom, staff room and library in state schools across Queensland will soon benefit from cooler and cleaner air.

Use of fans

Where fresh air is available, ceiling fans can be used to further improve air circulation.

If a fan is not functioning, the fan should be repaired following normal processes.

Other fans, such as pedestal fans, should not be directed to blow air from one person directly past another and should be set to the lowest speed.​

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Last updated 19 October 2022