Vaccination mandates in Victorian schools are lifted

28 June 2022
Steven Troeth, Partner, Melbourne Diana Diaz, Special Counsel, Melbourne

The Victorian Government announced on 18 June 2022 that it proposed to lift its imposed third dose mandates in education. This has now been done.

Lifting of mandates

All vaccination mandates for education workers in Victoria were lifted from 11.59pm on Friday, 24 June 2022 under Pandemic (Workplace) Order 2022 (No 9).

The Pandemic Order now no longer requires ‘education workers’ to be vaccinated as a condition of them being able to attend for work. Likewise, operators of an ‘education facility’ – such as schools, childcare and school boarding premises – will no longer be required to collect, record and hold vaccination information about its workers for them to be permitted to work onsite. This means that the current Pandemic Order no longer obliges schools to know whether their workers are fully vaccinated or fully vaccinated (boosted) for them to be able to attend for work.

However, vaccination mandates continue to apply to ‘specialist education workers’ at ‘specialist school facilities’. A ‘specialist school facility’ is a facility established for the main purpose of providing instruction for students with a disability.

In its announcement, the Government also noted that, in line with other jurisdictions around Australia, vaccination policies in schools would now be the responsibility of individual workplaces. Schools should seek advice if they wish to implement, or continue to enforce, their own mandatory vaccination policy.

Schools should also seek advice if there are disputes or concerns as to when previously unvaccinated employees, being on special leave or other approved leave of absence, are entitled to return to work and be paid.


Schools will continue to have an obligation to notify their school community of any positive COVID-19 cases.

A school who has been informed that a diagnosed person or a probable case attended its premises during the person’s infectious period must take reasonable steps to notify the parents, guardians and carers of the students enrolled at the school during the relevant infectious period:

  • that a diagnosed person or a probable case has attended the school during their infectious period; and
  • to monitor if the student begins to experience COVID-19 symptoms; and
  • that the student must, if they begin to experience COVID-19 symptoms, comply with the relevant testing requirements and, where applicable, follow the COVID-19 rapid antigen test procedure.

Collection of information

Schools must continue to collect, record and store the following information:

  • the dates on which they were notified of any diagnosed persons or probable cases who attended the school during their infectious period; and
  • the dates that any diagnosed persons or probable cases attended the school during their infectious period.

COVIDSafe Plans

Schools must also continue to have in place a COVIDSafe Plan which addresses the health and safety issues arising from COVID-19, including:

  • the school’s process for implementing any record-keeping obligations under the Pandemic Order;
  • actions taken by the school to mitigate the introduction of COVID-19 at the school premises (such as, for example, temperature testing, provision and training for PPE use, physical distancing requirements);
  • the processes which the school has put in place to respond to any symptomatic person or any confirmed case at the school;
  • an acknowledgement that the employer understands its responsibilities and obligations under the Pandemic Order.

This is a summary only of the relevant Pandemic Order. Schools are encouraged to refer to the full terms of the Pandemic Order and to seek advice on specific situations if required.

For details of all our COVID-19 tips and updates, visit the Gadens COVID-19 Hub.

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Authored by:

Steven Troeth, Partner
Diana Diaz, Special Counsel

This update does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. It is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and it is not intended to be comprehensive. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content.

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