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Guidelines for Returning to School

ASLA COVID-19 Guidelines for returning to school

As Australian students return to school and our school libraries reopen to all students, we would like to wish you, our amazing, hardworking, highly committed Teacher Librarians and School Library Staff across Australia, all the very best. We will be thinking of you especially as you welcome back your students, smile at them warmly, encourage and acknowledge them in person and implement new measures to help keep everyone safe.

Advice from ASLA for School Libraries Reopening to all Students

  • Be guided by your Principal and School Leaders
  • Follow the WHS Risk Assessment for COVID 19 for your school
  • Ensure Health and Safety measures are in place
  • Check supplies of safety products are adequate
  • Communicate the new measures clearly to all users
  • – Library Staff, Staff, Students, Parents and Visitors
  • Monitor effectiveness of safety controls and make changes as required
  • Celebrate the Library reopening
  • Continue to promote eLearning and Online Resources

Protecting Library Staff

Encourage Library Staff to:

  • Practise social distancing including in the Library work spaces and lunch area
  • Exercise good respiratory hygiene by coughing or sneezing into the arm
  • Maintain good hand hygiene by washing hands regularly with soap and water and using hand sanitiser frequently throughout the day
  • Protect themselves by wearing gloves and masks when needed
  • Remind them to download and use the COVID 19 APP
  • Stay home if unwell
  • We all need to follow instructions carefully, take care of our own health and safety and take reasonable care of the health and safety of others.

School Library Safety Measures to consider for your Library

    • Limit the number of people in the Library at any one time
    • Signs displayed for communicating new arrangements
    • All users to use Hand Sanitiser when entering and exiting the Library
    • Social distancing to be observed by adults
    • Floor markings to be added to busy areas as a reminder
    • Sneeze screen added to the Circulation Desk
    • Provide tissues and ensure bins are emptied regularly
    • Close the Library at Recess and Lunch for hard surface cleaning including tables, chairs, computers, photocopiers, printers, OPAC devices and high use areas
    • Remove all games, puzzles, pencils, soft furnishings and store for use later
    • Encourage Library Staff to use masks and gloves as required
    • Reduce the number of loans for each borrower as an interim measure
    • Have a plan in place to quarantine and clean all returns                                              
      Here is a simple but effective suggestion:
    • Staff to use protective gloves and masks
    • Return books and move to trolley
    • Lay books out on tables in a designated area and lightly spray with aerosol disinfectant front and back.
    • Leave for 10 minutes
    • Allow to air dry completely overnight and shelve.
    • Spray disinfect the return bin, trolleys and circulation desk after use and wipe over keyboard and barcode reader as required
    • Regularly check Library is adequately ventilated – air conditioning, heating, windows


AHPPC National Principles for School Education (National Cabinet - updated 16 April 2020) The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee is the key decision-making committee for health emergencies. It is comprised of all state and territory Chief Health Officers and is chaired by the Australian Chief Medical Officer.

National COVID-19 Safe Workplace Principles (National Cabinet - 29 April 2020)

Roadmap to a COVIDSafe Australia (Australian Government - 8 May 2020)

Work Health and Safety Act 2011  

Key Resources:

Checklist for reopening libraries – ALIA

The Coronavirus Explained and What you should do

Key Resources for Libraries in responding to the Coronavirus Pandemic – IFLA

Digital Book on Coronavirus for Primary Students

Coronavirus Explained for Secondary Students

ASLA Guidelines for Online Story Reading - Current copyright Information

Taking Care of Yourself Toolkit – Lifeline

Australian Department of Health

in  partnership with SLASA

12-13 April 2021

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