Access to cleaning supplies and services

The Victorian Budget 2020/21 invests $60 million for enhanced cleaning of government schools in 2020. This will support regular cleaning of high-touch surfaces to help minimise the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) in schools, as well as deep cleans for schools with a confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) case.

COVIDSafe routine cleaning

Following advice from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and in response to current low rates of coronavirus (COVID-19) community transmission in Victoria, school cleaning arrangements are being updated in line with public health advice.

In the context of low levels of community transmission is it safe and appropriate for schools to transition to a COVIDSafe routine cleaning schedule for Term 1 2021.

Metropolitan schools

For schools under the metropolitan area-based model, the Victorian School Building Authority (VSBA) will work with your cleaning service providers to ensure the required COVIDSafe routine cleaning is delivered.

Regional schools

Regional schools will be required to arrange additional cleaning as well as altered schedules for Term 1 with their cleaning provider.

The VSBA will directly email school principals in January, before Term 1 starts, to advise of the additional funding allocated to cover extra cleaning costs for Term 1 COVIDSafe routine cleaning. Schools will be required to distribute the funds appropriately between each of their campuses.

COVIDSafe routine cleaning – what needs to be included

COVIDSafe routine cleaning involves significantly more cleaning and disinfecting compared with the cleaning arrangements before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, including:

  • daily cleaning of all functional areas such as classrooms, libraries, gymnasiums and elements such as student tables, desks, appliances; including daily detailed clean and disinfection of bathrooms and daily vacuuming of soft floors
  • daily cleaning and disinfecting of high touch surfaces.

More frequent cleaning

Under COVIDSafe routine cleaning, hard floors in all functional areas will be mopped daily.

Cleaning high touch surfaces

There will be daily cleaning and disinfecting of all high touch surfaces in all areas, which includes, but is not limited to:

  • light switches, door handles and railings
  • tops and arms of shared used seats, shared desks, tables and counters
  • shared electrical equipment button and handles
  • tap handles, soap dispenser pumps and toilets (lid, seat, flush buttons).

Progressive cleaning of high touch surfaces throughout the school day is no longer required as schools have a range of complementary COVIDSafe strategies to reduce transmission risk.

Cleaning arrangements will need to be adjusted to each school’s requirements and be in line with the COVIDSafe Routine Cleaning Guidelines.

Contract variation for regional schools

Regional schools can vary their cleaning contracts to accommodate the scope of COVIDSafe routine cleaning.

For more information on how to vary a contract, refer to the frequently asked questions (login required) or contact schools.procurement@education.vic.gov.au

If your school has already varied its existing cleaning contract based on the Term 4 enhanced cleaning scope for February 2021, your school may be eligible for reimbursement.

Contact cleaning@education.vic.gov.au for further information.

Cleaning before the start of Term 1, 2021

To ensure the health and safety of staff attending school sites before Term 1 starts, schools are required to arrange for cleaning of administration areas and staff toilets on days when staff will be on-site.

Cleaning arrangements should be appropriate to the number of staff using the areas, the type and the length of use. For example, cleaning requirements for a staff room used by multiple staff over an entire day will be different to that of a staff office used by a single person for two hours.

To reduce the risk of disrupting scheduled periodical cleaning or maintenance, schools should let cleaning and maintenance contractors know the dates when staff will be on-site

Metropolitan schools

Schools under the metropolitan area-based model should liaise directly with their service provider to arrange cleaning.

Regional schools

The VSBA will email principals in January to advise them of additional funding they will receive to cover the extra cleaning costs for pre-Term 1 cleaning. Schools with more than one campus will be required to distribute the funds appropriately between each site.

Schools should determine the best way to arrange the pre-Term 1 additional services. For example, some cleaning contracts include an agreed hourly rate for ad-hoc cleaning requests.

Schools that are unable to arrange additional pre-Term 1 cleaning from their cleaning contractor may request a quote from another cleaning contractor. We highly encourage schools to engage a contractor that is approved on the School Cleaning Panel to ensure compliance.

For more information on procuring additional cleaning services, refer to the Schools Procurement Procedure and Policy or contact schools.procurement@education.vic.gov.au

Cleaning of schools impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19)

We work closely with individual schools and DHHS to manage and respond to reported cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) that may include exposure to the virus at a school site. Processes reduce the risk of any transmission occurring at a school site and ensure that school sites can reopen, and staff and students can return to on-site learning, as quickly and safely as possible.

In most cases where a school site closes due to a positive case of coronavirus (COVID-19) some or all of the school site will undergo a deep clean. This applies to all Victorian metropolitan and regional government schools. The VSBA arranges and pays for deep cleans.

Once advised of the need for deep cleaning, the VSBA will contact the principal as soon as possible to make appropriate arrangements.

The cleaning is conducted in accordance with cleaning and disinfection guidelines developed with DHHS.

As part of the guidelines, paper is not thrown away. If needed, to allow cleaning of high-touch surfaces, paper is packed away (by cleaners in personal protective equipment) or, for surfaces that would not normally be touched (for example, posters on the wall), paper is left in place.

Reducing the impact of deep cleaning

Schools should close spaces that are not needed and only use the administrative and teaching spaces needed to maintain physical distancing requirements and effective learning conditions.

To help us deliver any necessary deep cleaning, it's recommended that school staff working on site:

  • keep desks neat and tidy
  • file important documents before leaving each day
  • take personal belongings home each day (such as jackets, shoes, hats, gloves and face masks)
  • do not leave food or food containers out in the open (such as tea bags, biscuits and fruit)
  • store away unused shared and loose items (such as toys, musical instruments and sporting equipment)
  • keep personal cutlery in a sealed container, not left out on a workstation.

Required actions for suspected cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in staff

If a member of staff has a suspected case of coronavirus (COVID-19) refer to the school operations guide (login required).

Financial impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) and financial assistance

We're committed to helping schools meet their operational requirements. Schools need to prepare an annual budget and cashflow budget to aid with planning and monitoring financial performance during the year.

Where review of a school’s budget and cashflow statement indicates insufficient funds to meet commitments, such as the procurement of personal hygiene products including hand sanitiser, schools should contact:

School Financial Management Support Unit
schools.finance.support@education.vic.gov.au
(03) 7022 2222.

For more information refer to: Managing finances during coronavirus (COVID-19).

Personal hygiene products

Washing hands with soap is the best way to protect hands against coronavirus (COVID-19). Where soap and water are not available, hand sanitiser that contains at least 60 percent alcohol should be made available.  Schools are responsible for sourcing supplies of personal hygiene products, including hand sanitiser.

For the procurement of personal hygiene products (soap, toilet paper, hand sanitiser), schools should actively monitor cleaning and hygiene supplies and reorder in advance of needing access to additional materials.

How to order products

Schools should monitor cleaning and hygiene supplies and reorder in advance.

Schools should continue to use their usual supplier: the State Purchase Contract supplier for office supplies, Complete Office Supplies (COS), or retail outlets in the first instance.

If unavailable, schools can purchase products from their cleaning provider. If supplies are unavailable, schools should contact us at cleaning@education.vic.gov.au for further support.

Visit procurement tips for high-demand items for advice about procurement of consumables. Information is also available in the Personal Hygiene policy.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

For information about PPE: