COVID-19 and animals in schools

The Government is investigating many strategies to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This may include school closures.

Many schools have school farms and other facilities where animals are kept on site. It is a legislative requirement that animals are monitored on a day to day basis.

Schools are advised to design a plan that can be implemented in the event of a school closure to ensure the care and maintenance of any animals kept on the site.

As the current situation is constantly changing each school should now develop a plan so they can respond quickly if circumstances change. The plan may require a range of staff members to monitor school animals and could include the Farm Assistant, General Assistant, teaching staff and executive staff.

The plan should be discussed with the school executive and be well communicated to all staff involved with clear indication of each person’s responsibilities. In developing the school plan consideration should be given to alternative arrangements in the event that the preferred arrangements cannot be enacted, for example if a designated staff member is unable to carry out their responsibilities.

Schools should also communicate appropriate parts of the plan with their communities and include emergency contact details.

Supervision of animals should be consistent with the advice provided on the Animals in Schools website (http://nswschoolanimals.com/).

Principals and staff should be aware that if the school is required to close, the school farm will be a low risk environment for the transmission of COVID-19.

Any staff involved in monitoring school animals should adhere to the procedures for staff working alone.

Animals in Schools

The purpose of this web site is to assist schools to satisfy the requirements of the Animal Research Act 1985 (NSW) and the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes. This advice applies to all schools of the NSW Department of Education, Catholic Schools NSW and Association of Independent Schools of NSW.


The information on this website interprets the legislation that governs the use of animals used for teaching and research, i.e. the Animal Research Act 1985 (NSW) and the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes. This information applies to vertebrate animals and includes mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish, but does not include human beings.