Minister for Education Dan Tehan has today announced that the Commonwealth Government will provide an additional $10 million to improve COVID-19 hygiene measures in non-government schools that plan to have 50 per cent of their students back in the classroom by June 1.
The Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) has indicated that all approved authorities who responded to them by noon on 2 May 2020 and who indicated that they had a plan for 50 per cent of students to return to classroom based learning by 1 June 2020 will automatically receive this Special Hygiene Assistance payment on 9 June 2020.
The payment will be a base amount of $2000 per school plus $45 per every 15 students (as per 2019 enrolment figures). There were a number of Independent approved authorities who responded that they would meet this condition but did not require their July payment brought forward. These schools will still receive the additional hygiene payment.
DESE will also be writing to all approved authorities who either did not respond to the department, or who responded but indicated that would not meet the required condition for the June payment (i.e. 50 per cent of students in classroom learning by 1 June 2020). The Department will ask these approved authorities whether their circumstances have changed, and if so give them the opportunity to opt-in to receive the Special Hygiene Assistance payment (however these approved authorities have missed the opportunity to have their July payment brought forward).
The Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER) has also initiated a PPE Taskforce to ensure that all businesses have access to adequate supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and in particular hand sanitiser.
We have been contacted by DISER and invited to provide them with information in relation to any school who is experiencing difficulty in accessing the necessary cleaning supplies for a return to school (including price gouging). Please do not hesitate to contact us if you experience problems in relation to these issues and we can contact the DISER Taskforce for assistance.