When NSW students return to school – and how it will work

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NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has revealed her updated Covd-safe back-to-school plan, despite surging cases of the virus.

She assured parents the plan is based on health advice and the government is prioritising the safety of students.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian speaks during a COVID-19 update and press conference in Sydney, Friday, August 27, 2021. Source: AAP
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has revealed face-to-face learning will return in late October with HSC exams pushed back to November. Source: AAP

“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.”

HSC exams delayed 

  • HSC exams have been pushed back to November 9

  • A revised timetable and guidelines for COVID-safe exams will be released in early September

  • Results to be pushed back to mid January

  • Government says delay will not disadvantage students applying to university

Staggered return as restrictions remain

A staggered return to face-to-face learning in Covid safe settings will begin on October 25 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 will have full access to their school from October 25. They will continue being able to return in a limited way until then.

If restrictions are lifted in an LGA or region before this date, all students living or learning in that area will return to school under the Department’s COVID-safe schools framework.

Learning from home will resume if there is a significant jump in cases.

Girl (8-10) raising hand in classroom, rear view. Source: Getty Images
There will be a staggered return for year groups, beginning with Kindergarten and Year 1 students. Source: Getty Images

Vaccines mandatory for staff

  • Vaccinations for all school staff across all sectors will be mandatory from 8 November

  • NSW Health will provide priority vaccinations at Qudos Bank Arena for school staff the week beginning 6 September

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

  • Early childcare staff will also be able to participate in the priority vaccinations

"We are asking for everybody who works on a school campus to be vaccinated by November 8," Ms Berejiklian said.

"A large proportion of teachers are already vaccinated, but we are calling out for anybody, to any teacher, who is not vaccinated to get vaccinated."

Students to become vaccine priority

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

  • The prime minister announced 12 to 15-year-olds will be able to book vaccinations from September 13.

  • All parents are also strongly encouraged to get the jab as soon as possible

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