COVID-19 plans and guidance for the community services sector.
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COVIDSafe Settings for the Community Services Sector

From 6pm on Friday 26 March 2021, Victoria has further relaxed its COVIDSafe settings. Community services must comply with any applicable directions in the Workplace (Additional Industry Obligations) and have a COVIDSafe Plan for onsite operations.

For more information about restrictions and developing a COVIDSafe Plan visit Victoria’s coronavirus website.

For community services organisations funded by the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, any issues requiring further clarification should be directed to your Agency Performance and System Support contact in the first instance.

Please refer to Industry restriction levels: Community services for advice about industry restrictions that apply to the community services sector.

The community services sector restrictions: coronavirus (COVID-19) roadmap for reopening (Word) guidance, published on 22 October 2020, is currently being updated and will be available in the coming days.

Guidance for COVID-19 planning in the community services sector

Guidance for coronavirus (COVID-19) planning in the community services sector (Word), published on 12 September, is currently being updated and will be available in the coming days.

If you would like further information, please email Human Services COVID Readiness and Response Centre at HSCRRC_planning&engagement@dhhs.vic.gov.au.

High-risk Accommodation Response Extension (HRAR Extension): Service Specifications

This document provides service specifications and operational guidance for the extended version of the High-risk Accommodation Response (HRAR Extension) program. 

COVID-19 plan for the Victorian community services sector

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Plan for the Victorian Community Services Sector (Word) guidance, published on 30 April 2020, is currently being reviewed.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) for community service providers

Updated advice:

  • Community services workers are no longer required to wear eye protection when providing support to people who do not currently have or are suspected of having COVID-19. 
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, gown and protective eye wear should be used when providing hands-on contact care if there is a risk of splash or exposure to blood or body fluids.
  • Staff, contractors and volunteers must wear a surgical mask when interacting with clients, unless physical distancing of at least 1.5 metres can be maintained. Clients must also wear a face mask in these environments.
  • Staff, contractors and volunteers can transport more than one child/adult (who reside together) at any given time, subject to existing COVIDSafe practices (such as mask-wearing).
  • Staff, contractors and volunteers must wear a surgical mask in indoor non-client-facing roles (for example, tea rooms, meeting rooms, offices) if physical distancing of at least 1.5 metres cannot be maintained.
  • For more information visit the face masks webpage.
  • PPE for community service providers for prevention of COVID-19 - 15 December 2020 (Word)

If you would like further information please email Human Services COVID Readiness and Response Centre at HSCRRC_planning&engagement@dhhs.vic.gov.au.

eLearning modules for community services workers

The department has developed three free eLearning modules in collaboration with Anglicare Victoria and Eve Learning for the community services sector. The topics are: 

  • COVID-safe for Residential Carers 
  • PPE for Community Workers
  • Use of P2/N95 Masks.

The three modules take about 20 minutes each to complete. They give practical guidance on how to use PPE (including face masks) correctly and reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. These files are easily accessible and interactive. 

The PPE for Community Workers module is a prerequisite for the third module on Use of P2/N95 Masks.

You will receive a certificate when you complete each module.

Watch this 3-minute YouTube clip showing the key features of the first two eLearning modules.

To access the eLearning modules, log in or sign up to the Eve Learning learning system.

Organisations wishing to host these eLearn modules can download the latest version of the courses as SCORM files. These files can be provided on request.

For more information, please email COVID Disability Prevention COVIDDP@dhhs.vic.gov.au at the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing.

Cleaning and disinfecting to reduce COVID-19 transmission 

This guide provides information on the routine cleaning and disinfecting required to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in residential care homes.

This fact sheet explains how to manage clinical waste from COVID-19, and arrange for collections in various workplace settings.

Agency monitoring

This document outlines the department’s key principles and changes in approach that funded agencies can expect in relation to monitoring and managing service delivery performance and continuity issues.

Community Activation and Social Isolation Initiative

The Victorian Government’s new Community Activation and Social Isolation (CASI) initiative for local organisations, stakeholders and individuals is intended to help people who might be feeling lonely or have lost their regular networks during COVID-19 to build social connections and networks of support in their local communities.

As part of the initiative, people can now call the Coronavirus Hotline (1800 675 398) to receive emotional support if they are feeling lonely or disconnected as a result of COVID-19.

Engaging interpreters during COVID-19

Interpreters play an essential role in ensuring that Victorians with limited English proficiency or who use sign language can access services and understand and participate meaningfully in the care they receive. 

This guidance note advises Victorian-Government-funded agencies and services on how to safely and effectively engage interpreters during COVID-19.

Helping Victorians with electricity, gas and water bills

A range of programs are available to help Victorians manage their energy costs and get support if they’re having trouble paying their electricity and gas bills. 

Community organisations can refer low-income and vulnerable households to these programs for help accessing the support available under the state’s Payment Difficulty Framework, including concessions, government grants and finding cheaper energy plans.