NSW students will begin returning to school from October 25, when kindergarten and year 1 students will go back to class and year 12 will get full access to their school ahead of a delayed HSC, which will begin on November 9, school principals were told on Friday.
Years 2, 6 and 11 will return on November 1, and the rest of the students will head back on November 8, which is the sixth week of term four.
However, any council area identified as one of concern under health orders will continue to learn from home until that designation is removed, the secretary of the NSW Department of Education, Georgina Harrisson, told a parliamentary inquiry.
Teachers must be vaccinated. “Double doses of COVID vaccinations will be mandatory for any staff on school sites from 25 October and for all school staff from 8 November,” the NSW Department of Education told principals in an email.
This plan will allow students at least six weeks at school before the Christmas holidays begin.
For schools outside the hotspot areas, Ms Harrison said the back-to-school plan could be contingent on the rates of community transmission remaining below 50 cases per 100,000 people. She said NSW Health was considering that benchmark based on United States definitions.
“Any LGA that is identified in the public health orders as an LGA of concern will not be returning under this plan, until they are removed from being LGAs of concern,” she said.
Education Minister Sarah Mitchell refused to be drawn on which LGAs were least likely to return on present case numbers.