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COVID-Smart Plan to Start 2022 School Year

Students will return to school under COVID-smart settings that will minimise the risk of transmission and allow teachers and students to return safely to the classroom.

As part of the new measures, every student and teacher in NSW Government and non-Government schools will be able to receive rapid antigen test (RAT) kits before school returns on February 1.

The COVID-Smart Plan to keep schools open and students safe includes:

  • Twice a week surveillance testing for primary and high school students, school staff and early childhood staff. Surveillance testing will be undertaken for the first four weeks of term, with two weeks of supply distributed before term starts.
  • Mandatory mask wearing for all staff and high school students, with masks encouraged for children in primary schools.
  • Limiting interaction between year groups.
  • Limiting visitors to those providing essential curriculum and wellbeing support.
  • COVID-safe settings in place for music, sport and excursions.
  • Maximising natural and mechanical ventilation, with air purifiers dispatched to where they are needed.
  • Contingency plans in place to manage any disruptions to the workforce.

Member for Oatley, Mark Coure, said the NSW Government was committed to getting students back to the classroom in a safe and responsible way.

“I have continually heard feedback throughout the pandemic from parents, teachers and students about their desire and appreciation for classroom learning. By putting the appropriate measures and settings in place, we are ensuring that they can return safely with minimal risk of transmission,” Mr Coure said.

Premier, Dominic Perrottet, said supporting students to return safely to the classroom is vital after two years of disruption to their education.

“Students learn best at school. Some students have spent a quarter of their schooling at home. We are committed to bringing students back safely,” Premier Perrottet said.

“What is most important about this approach is that it allows students to enjoy all aspects of their schooling in a safe and sensible way.”

“The Government is distributing more than 12 million RATs to over 3150 Government, non-Government schools and early childhood centres to assist with surveillance testing of staff and students.”

Minister for Education and Early Learning, Sarah Mitchell, said testing complements other COVID-smart measures in schools, including mandatory vaccination for staff, increased

vaccination coverage for students, mask-wearing, cleaning, cohorting and limited visitors onsite.

“We have worked closely with the Victorian Government to create plans that achieve the same important goals of seeing our students learning in their classrooms safely and with minimal disruption,” Minister Mitchell said.

“Activities students love, such as music, school sport and assemblies will continue with settings in place similar to late last year.”

A number of staffing contingencies are in place including utilising retired and studying teachers.

Families will be notified by their schools on how and when to collect the RAT kits for their children.

For more information on the return to school settings for NSW public schools, please visit:

https://education.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/advice-for-families