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Face masks - study and school

Information about wearing face masks at schools, early childhood education centres and places of study in Victoria.

In line with advice from the Victorian Chief Health Officer, all high-school students and school-based staff must carry a face mask at all times and wear a face mask in public indoor settings such as schools, early childhood education centres and places of study, unless an exception applies. There are a number of lawful excuses for not wearing a face mask.

Face masks are mandatory in all public indoor settings, on public transport and when in taxis or ride share vehicles. This includes travelling to and from school on public transport or in a vehicle with others not from your household.

People aged 12 years and older must wear a face mask in public indoor settings including schools, early childhood education centres and places of study.  Face masks are strongly recommended when outdoors and at least where 1.5 metres distance cannot be maintained. Students under the age of 12 do not have to wear face masks.  

Children who are aged 12 and over who are attending primary school do not need to wear a face mask at school. The Victorian Chief Health Officer has advised that it is not practical to require some primary school students to wear face masks while others are not required to. 

For information about face masks, see our Face masks page.

Teachers, educators and education support staff

Teachers and education support staff:

  • will not be required to wear face masks while teaching, but those who wish to do so, can
  • must wear face masks in other indoors areas of the school when not teaching if physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Students

School students aged 12 or older must wear a face mask indoors, unless an exception applies. There are a number of lawful excuses for not wearing a face mask.

Exemptions

Some students and staff are exempt from these requirements. This includes:

  • students who attend specialist schools, are over the age of 12 and are unable to wear a face mask due to the nature of their disability
  • students or staff who have a medical condition, such as problems with their breathing, a serious skin condition on the face, a disability or a mental health condition

Read about  specific exemptions from these requirements.

Parents and carers

Parents and carers must wear a face mask when in public indoor settings including schools, early childhood education centres and places of study, unless an exception applies. It is recommended parents and carers wear face masks outdoors where physical distancing cannot be maintained, for example at a congested school drop off or pick up.

Use of personal protective equipment in education

School staff should refer to guidance for the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) in education to determine when additional PPE is required. Education login is required.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) hotline

The Department of Education and Training’s coronavirus (COVID-19) hotline is available from 8am - 6pm, 7 days a week (excluding public holidays), phone 1800 338 663.

Do children need to wear a face mask?

Individuals over the age of 12 must wear a face mask in public indoor settings.

For individuals over the age of 12, face masks are strongly recommended when outdoors and at least 1.5 metres distance cannot be maintained. 

Children under the age of 12 years do not have to wear a face mask but individual families can make their own decisions regarding their children. 

Children who are two years old and under should never wear a face mask or covering due to choking and strangulation risks. 

Children who are aged 12 and over who are attending primary school do not need to wear a face mask at school.

Do teachers/ early learning/ day care/ kinder need to wear face masks? 

It is not compulsory for teachers, educators and carers to wear face masks while teaching, interacting with or caring for children as they can interfere with their ability to clearly communicate with students. Teachers, educators and carers can choose to wear face masks if they wish when in the classroom/ facility or when teaching or providing care for children. 

Teachers, educators and carers must wear face masks when they are not teaching in indoor settings including communal areas such as foyers and staff rooms. Face masks are also strongly recommended outdoors where at least 1.5 metres of physical distance cannot be maintained.

Do students at schools need to wear a face mask? 

Students aged 12 and over must wear face masks when in public indoor settings. 

Students under the age of 12 do not have to wear face masks.  

Children who are aged 12 and over who are attending primary school do not need to wear a face mask at school. The Victorian Chief Health Officer has advised that it is not practical to require some primary school students to wear face masks while others are not required to. 

Do special school students need to wear a face mask? 

Students over the age of 12 who attend a special school are not required to wear a face mask where their disability means it would not be feasible.

Posters for your service

We have developed a range of posters for services to display which help explain face masks and other risk-mitigation strategies: These include: 

The Department of Health and Human Services website has additional advice about face masks, including:

Worksafe advice about face masks in the workplace

The Victorian Chief Health Officer has directed that employers must take reasonable steps to ensure that employees wear face masks when working at the employer’s premises.

As the Department is not the owner or employer of early childhood services, it is up to each provider to meet these obligations.

For more information, visit  WorkSafe.

Sourcing face masks

If you are having short-term difficulty sourcing face masks for staff, we may be able to provide you with a number of single-use face masks while you establish supply. Email early.childhood.implementation@edumail.vic.gov.au to request assistance.

Funded kindergarten providers will be given priority.

Reviewed 01 January 2021

Coronavirus Victoria

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