Students will return to school under COVID-smart settings that will minimise the risk of the virus and allow teachers and pupils 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 1st.
The COVID-Smart Plan 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.
Premier Dominic Perrottet said supporting students to return safely to the classroom is vital.
“Some 12 million RATs will go to over 3,150 government, non-government schools and early childhood centres to assist with surveillance testing of staff and students,” he said.
“Families will be notified by their schools on how and when to collect the RAT kits for their children.”
In the 12 to 15-year-old age group, more than 80 per cent of children have had their
first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 78 per cent are double-dosed. In the 5 to 11-year-old age group, more than 24 per cent of children have had their first dose.
More information on the return to school settings for NSW public schools is available at https://education.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/advice-for-families