The New South Wales government has released its back-to-school plan on Friday, which includes a staggered return to face-to-face learning for all students starting late October.
In its announcement, NSW Department of Education said that students in any local government area (LGA) that comes out of lockdown before 25 October would be automatically allowed to return to school.
The department added that it has been working with health officials to bring children back to the classroom in a “COVID-safe” way while stay-at-home orders were still in place.
The planned staggered return to face-to-face classes will proceed in the following order:
- From 25 October – Kindergarten and Year 1
- From 1 November – Years 2, 6, and 11
- From 8 November – Years 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, and 10
Students in Year 12 are already able to return in a limited way and this will continue for the remainder of Term 3. From 25 October, these students will have full-time access to school campuses and their teachers.
The department added that if COVID-19 cases in an LGA increased significantly, a shift to remote learning would be implemented until the case numbers dropped.
HSC exams pushed back
NSW Education also announced that the HSC exams would be pushed back to 9 November.
The NSW Education Standards Authority will release a revised timetable and guidelines to ensure that the test will be conducted safely.
Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said that the university sector had been consulted to make sure that NSW students would not be at a disadvantage because of the delay.
“We expect the results will come out in mid-January, but the university sector has been consulted, and are able to accommodate those changes,” Mitchell said in Friday’s press briefing. “That means any Year 12 student who wants to go to university will be able to be offered a place, in line with previous years.
Mitchell added that measures were in place in the event an HSC student was unable to take an exam.
“Any particular student on the day of their exams who cannot attend because they are unwell, if they are impacted by being a COVID close contact, there are already procedures in place to help those people in terms of the assessment,” she said.