Temporary Closure of Schools Policy

  1. What is this policy about?
    1. This policy describes the circumstances where a temporary school closure may occur and who has the authority to make this decision.
  2. Policy Statement
    1. Temporary closure of a public school in the ACT may occur where there is an immediate or imminent threat to the physical health or safety of students, staff or community members.
    2. Principals are obliged under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 to ensure that all practicable steps are taken to protect the health and safety of the school community.
    3. School closure may be due to school specific circumstances including but not exclusive to the following situations:
      • emergency or critical incident
      • risk to health or safety
      • identification of asbestos
      • burst water pipe
      • power failure.
    4. A lead agency may recommend the temporary closure of schools in prescribed circumstances. A prescribed circumstance includes but is not exclusive to the following situations:
      • emergency or critical incident
      • risk to health or safety
      • instruction from the Chief Medical Officer
      • epidemic/pandemic
      • industrial action
      • days of persistent extreme weather conditions (thermal comfort)
      • where a facility has been identified for closure during an extreme or catastrophic fire danger rating.
  3. Who does this policy apply to?
    1. This policy applies to all ACT public schools
  4. Context
    1. The Directorate has a duty of care to provide a healthy, safe and secure workplace and to protect the safety of individuals on school premises.
    2. The Directorate is able to temporarily close a school where circumstances such as those described in 2.3 and 2.4 of this policy arise.
  5. Responsibilities
    1. The Director-General, Emergency Management Directorate Liaison Officers and School Network Leaders have the authority to close a school on a temporary basis.
    2. Policy Owner: The Director, Governance and Assurance is responsible for this policy.
  6. Monitoring and Review
    1. The Policy Owner monitors the policy. This includes an annual scan of operation and review. A full review of the policy will be conducted within a three year period.
  7. Contact
    1. For support contact Governance and Assurance branch on (02) 6207 1974.
  8. Complaints
    1. Any concerns about the application of this policy or the policy itself, please contact:
  9. References
    1. Definitions
      • See Temporary Closure of Schools Procedures.
    2. Legislation
      • Safe Work Australia Act 2008 is the legislative base for health and safety requirements and workers compensation arrangements in Australia
      • The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 provides a framework to protect the health, safety and welfare of all workers at work. It also protects the health and safety of all other people who might be affected by the work.
    3. Implementation Documents
      • Temporary Closure of Schools Procedures
    4. Related Policies and Information
      • Emergency Control (Australian Standards AS3745-2010)
      • Industrial Action Affecting the Operation of Schools Policy
      • Managing High Temperature in ACT Public Schools

Temporary Closure of Schools Policy: TCS201406 is the unique identifier of this document. It is the responsibility of the user to verify that this is the current and complete version of the document, available on the Directorate’s website at http://www.education.act.gov.au/publications_and_policies/school_and_corporate_policies/A-Z.

Policy Identifier: TCS201406

Published: January 2016

Related Policies and Information:

  • Emergency Control (Australian Standards AS3745-2010)
  • Industrial Action Affecting the Operation of Schools Policy
  • Managing High Temperature in ACT Public Schools