Coronavirus (COVID-19): FAQs for RTOs

Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for registered training providers (including TAFEs) and training operations

Stage 4 restrictions are now in-place for metropolitan Melbourne and Stage 3 for regional Victoria. This is to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and save lives.

Under Stage 4 restrictions, workplaces in metropolitan Melbourne are closed, unless the workplace is part of a permitted industry.

Regular coronavirus (COVID-19) updates can be found at:

Frequently asked questions

  1. What is the current advice to RTOs regarding the delivery of training?
  2. Are there any circumstances where on-site training can be delivered under Stage 4 restrictions?
  3. If an RTO is permitted to deliver on-site training, what new requirements need to be addressed?
  4. What should an RTO do if a staff member or a student has a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19)?
  5. If an RTO wants to reduce its scope of registration in response to coronavirus (COVID-19), what should it do?
  6. Can an RTO deliver courses that require students to undertake practical training?
  7. In providing online training, what is the RTO required to do?
  8. Is there additional VRQA-support for RTOs seeking to re-register during the COVID-19 pandemic?
  9. Has the VRQA changed how the RTO re-registration process is conducted?
  10. What should an RTO do if it thinks its training operations are no longer viable?
  11. Can RTOs apply for government support funding?

1. What is the current advice to RTOs regarding the delivery of training?

Training providers in metropolitan Melbourne must close. This means on-site work, including training and study, must be put on hold except in very limited circumstances (see question 2).

Stage 3 restrictions are in place for regional Victoria, including Michell Shire. Under Stage 3, RTOs can conduct on-site training for practical teaching, research and other activity that cannot be conducted remotely or online.

Under stage 3, RTOs may deliver on-site training and practical teaching for research and learning activities that cannot be conducted remotely.

2. Are there any circumstances where on-site training can be delivered under Stage 4 restrictions?

Under Stage 4 restrictions, qualifications or credentials servicing the following occupations and activities are permitted to be delivered on-site, only where remote delivery is not possible: 

  • Assessments for safe working practice and infection control
  • Apprentices in approved construction
  • Clinical health and biomedical science
  • Commercial cleaning
  • Aged and disability care
  • Mandatory assessments for VCE and VCAL students

On-site attendance is also permitted where the activity cannot be done remotely, and the purpose is to:

  • maintain and continue medical and other research that requires on-site attendance
  • care for animals, agriculture and horticulture
  • conduct cleaning, essential maintenance (including facilities, equipment and IT) and provide security
  • provide practical student support (pastoral care and counselling) where this cannot be done remotely

For more information on the business restrictions, see:

3. If an RTO is permitted to deliver on-site training, what new requirements need to be addressed?

RTOs permitted to continue on-site training must prepare a COVIDSafe Plan.

For information about creating a COVIDSafe Plan, see:

Any face-to-face training requires staff and students to adhere to 1.5 metre physical distancing at all times. This may mean adjusting the classroom to create more space between people and between desks/workstations.

Facilities and equipment used must be regularly cleaned and sanitised.

All staff and students across Victoria are required to wear a mask or face covering.

Anyone who is unwell or is required to self-isolate must not attend the RTO and should seek medical attention and be tested for coronavirus (COVID-19).

For more information about preventing infection at your workplace, see:  

4. What should an RTO do if a staff member or a student has a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19)?

If a student or staff member has a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) or was in close contact with someone who has, seek advice from the Department of Health and Human Services on:

  • Telephone: 1300 651 160

5. If an RTO wants to reduce its scope of registration in response to coronavirus (COVID-19), what should it do?

RTOs wanting to amend or remove a training product from its scope of registration use Form B.

There is no charge for removing items from an RTO's scope of registration. 

For more information about amending scope of registration and to access the form, see:

6. Can an RTO deliver courses that require students to undertake practical training?

RTOs should seek to deliver practical training online and remotely, wherever possible. There are some very limited exceptions.

In metropolitan Melbourne that current has Stage 4 restrictions, on-site practical training is permitted for qualifications and credentials servicing the following occupations and activities:

  • Assessments for safe working practice and infection control
  • Apprentices in approved construction
  • Clinical health and biomedical science
  • Commercial cleaning
  • Aged and disability care
  • Mandatory assessments for VCE and VCAL students

Where an RTO is providing training related to the above, they can continue on-site practical training provided it adheres to the physical distancing and directions from the Chief Health Officer.

For more specific advice please refer to the Department of Education and Training's advice.  

7. In providing online training, what is an RTO required to do?

VRQA-registered RTOs providing online learning must be able to demonstrate that they are delivering to Victorian-based students and/or West Australian students only.

RTOs need to be aware that any changes to training delivery and/or assessment maintain the integrity of the specific training package requirements. An RTO must also record details of modifications made to delivery and/or assessment in student files and any other appropriate RTO documentation.

An RTO must maintain documented evidence of how the online training and/or assessment is conducted and how it ensured the training package requirements are met.

RTOs need to make sure that students have access to the technology resources to engage in online learning, including computers, printers, internet access and relevant software. They should also consult with students to determine if they are capable and confident to undertake online learning.

RTOs delivering online learning should make sure that students are regularly logging on and undertaking their learning to progress through their qualification. Maintaining regular contact with the student by telephone and email is also an important requirement.

8. Is there additional VRQA-support for RTOs seeking to re-register during the COVID-19 pandemic?

For VRQA-registered RTOs with registration due to expire before 1 July 2021, the VRQA has extended their registration by six months.

This will allow the RTOs greater opportunity to safely and fully participate in the application and assessment process if they seek to apply for re-registration.

9. Has the VRQA changed how the RTO re-registration process is conducted?

Yes. We've paused site audits while physical distancing guidelines are in place and we're conducting desktop audits instead.

In a desktop audit, RTOs need to provide relevant documentation, images and/or video files. The requested evidence must be provided electronically and within a set timeframe.

Our auditors will use this information to assess compliance with the registration requirements. We also require RTOs to have relevant staff available to talk to our auditors remotely.

Depending on the outcome of a desktop audit, some RTOs may require a site visit by an authorised officer to validate on-site requirements.   

If there are any issues with RTOs being unable to engage in a desktop audit, please contact us to discuss your individual circumstances:

10. What should an RTO do if it thinks its training operations are no longer viable?

RTOs unable to address the requirements of their registration or is no longer financially viable, it should contact us to discuss.

If an RTO seeks to close the business, it will need to complete Form C Request by RTO to Cancel Registration. In cancelling registration, the RTO will need to provide a complete copy of student records, as detailed in the form.

For a copy of the form, see:

It's important that if an RTO is considering cancelling its registration, that it advises us of its intentions at the earliest possible opportunity. 

To contact us:

11. Can RTOs apply for government support funding?

RTOs that are a small to medium size enterprise may be eligible for financial support from the Victorian and Commonwealth governments.

We do not manage government funding. Publicly funded vocational education and training in Victoria is managed by the Higher Education and Skills Group which is part of the Victorian Department of Education and Training.

For more information, contact the Department of Education and Training:

Telephone: 1800 338 663

Email: COVID19.tafe@edumail.vic.gov.au

RTOs may also be interested in the Commonwealth Government's JobKeeper program.

For more information, see: