There will be a staggered return to face-to-face learning from October, HSC exams will be delayed until November and vaccinations for school staff will be mandatory based on the return to school plan released by the NSW Government today.

The Department of Education has developed a plan to bring students back in a COVID-safe way while stay at home orders are still in place – ensuring continuity of education, and protecting student, teacher and community safety.

A staggered return of students to face-to-face learning will begin on Monday 25 October.

Students will return to face-to-face learning with NSW Health approved COVID safe settings on school sites in the following order:

  • From 25 October – Kindergarten and Year 1 
  • From 1 November – Year 2, 6 and 11
  • From 8 November – Year 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 and 10

Year 12 students are already able to return in a limited way and this will continue for the remainder of Term 3. From 25 October, Year 12 will have full time access to school campuses and their teachers.

If stay at home orders are lifted in an LGA or region before 25 October, all students living or learning in that area will return to face to face learning under the Department’s COVID-safe schools framework.

If cases in certain LGAs increase significantly, learning from home will resume for that LGA until case numbers drop.

HSC exams will be delayed until 9 November with a revised timetable and guidelines for a COVID-safe HSC to be released by NESA in early September. Importantly, the delay of the HSC exams will not disadvantage NSW students when applying to university.

Vaccinations for all school staff across all sectors will be mandatory from 8 November. NSW Health will be providing priority vaccinations at Qudos Bank Arena for school staff the week beginning 6 September.

Early childcare staff will also be able to participate in the priority vaccinations from 6 September. All school and early childcare staff are also encouraged to make use of the GP network to be vaccinated with whatever vaccine is available as soon as possible.

A recent survey of the public school workforce indicated the majority of staff already had at least one dose of a vaccine.

All students eligible for a vaccine will be strongly encouraged by the government to book an appointment.

Students aged 12-15 will also be a priority if they become eligible for a vaccine.

All parents who have not been vaccinated are strongly encouraged to get the vaccine as soon as possible.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the NSW Government is prioritising the safety and education of students through a sensible and managed return to school.

“The return to school plan provides parents, teachers and students with certainty and a path forward for the return to face-to-face learning,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“We know the last few months have been tough on the school community and we are deeply grateful to parents, teachers and students for the sacrifices you have made. Please continue to protect our students by getting vaccinated as quickly as possible.”

Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Sarah Mitchell said the education and safety of our students is essential.

“The classroom is where students learn best and I thank the entire community for playing their role in this return by getting vaccinated,” Ms Mitchell said.

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