Premier gives school formals the green light

Premier gives school formals the green light

Many students have been looking forward to celebrating the end of this year perhaps more than any other.

In March, the government cancelled assemblies, presentation nights, excursions, travel, sports carnivals and other public events as a precautionary measure to protect staff and students from the spread of COVID-19.

Five months later, the implementation of the government’s updated COVID-Safe guidelines put other key school events and activities, such as formals and graduations, on hold.

For students across Australia, it’s safe to say that 2020 is a year they won’t miss.

But yesterday, senior students in NSW got some welcome news.

The state’s Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, confirmed that Year 12 students will be able to celebrate finishing school with COVID-19 safe graduation ceremonies and formals being allowed to take place during Term 4.

“We will always rely on the health advice, which recommends COVID safe formals and graduation ceremonies take place from 12 November after the final HSC exam,” Berejiklian said.

“Students are currently preparing for the HSC and deserve to have events to look forward to after their exams.”

Berejiklian said NSW schools can expect to receive the COVID-19 safety plan guidance for Year 12 graduations and school formals by this Friday.

NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said Year 12 students have been working “incredibly hard under difficult circumstances”.

“Last week I made it clear that I wanted to find a way to allow students to celebrate the end of their schooling and I’m thrilled that this is now a reality,” Mitchell said.

“Schools will be able to use the guidance provided by Health to develop a COVID-19 safe plan for their celebrations. I know that students will be excited to have their formals as something they can look forward to after their exams.”

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said it is important the events take place after HSC exams to reduce the risk of COVID-19 impacting on exams or preparations.

She said Year 12 students requiring a COVID-19 test should tell their GP or testing clinic they are currently doing their HSC. This will ensure their test results are prioritised, minimising any disruption to their schooling and study.

The NSW Government will also provide COVID safe guidance to students wanting to participate in schoolies under the current restrictions and health advice.