Staggered return to face-to-face learning announced for NSW

The plan to return to normal learning is welcomed by parents and students alike.


PARENTS who have struggled to keep the work-home balance and students who have been isolated from friends and forced into remote learning will be overjoyed at the announcement of a return to school plan this week from the NSW Premier.

Ms Gladys Berejiklian has announced a staggered return to school for NSW from October.

The announcement also included that HSC exams will be delayed until November and vaccinations for school staff will be mandatory.

The School Plan by the Department of Education aims to ensure a safe return for staff and students for face-to-face learning while Stay At Home orders are still in place.

The staggered return will begin on Monday 25 October with kindergarten and Year 1.

They will be followed byYear 2, 6 and 11 on 1 November and Year 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 and 10 on 8 November.

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.

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.

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.


By Sandra MOON

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