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NSW reveals its return to school plan

A staggered return to face-to-face learning, HSC exams delayed and mandatory vaccinations for school staff are all part of a ‘return to school’ plan announced today by the NSW Government.


The Department of Education has developed a plan to bring students back in a COVID-safe way while stay at home orders ate still in place.

The State Government say they are attempting to ensure continuity of education whilst maintaining the protection of students, teachers, and communities.


From Monday 25 October, students will return to face-to-face learning in the order of youngest to oldest.


Upon NSW Health approved COVID-safe settings, students will return 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, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10


NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said the plan was to return students into classrooms in a "safe and sensible way".


"I'm excited we have a plan to have our students back in the classroom and I'm sure teachers would agree [as well as] parents, who I know many are doing their best learning from home, but it can be a bit of a challenge," Ms Mitchell said.


Ms Mitchell empathised with Year 12 students, who for the second-year running have had their school learnings and experiences disrupted by lockdowns.


From 25 October, Year 12 students are set to have full time access to school campuses and their teachers. Until then, the final year students can attend school in a limited way.

If regional NSW stay at home orders are lifted before 25 October, all students in those areas will return to face-to-face learning under the Department’s COVID-safe schools’ framework. If cases again begin to increase significantly, learning from home will resume for that LGA until case numbers drop.


The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) are set to release a revised timetable and guidelines for a COVID-safe HSC in early September.


HSC exams will be delayed until 9 November.


The Premier Gladys Berejiklian also announced vaccinations for school staff would be mandatory by November 8, with priority for jabs given to them from September 6.


Mask wearing will also be mandatory for staff and high school students, and "strongly encouraged" for primary school students.


"We're also asking for everyone who works on a school campus ... to be vaccinated by November 8," Ms Berejiklian said.


The state recorded two deaths and 882 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Thursday night.