Thursday, 30 September 2021

Gladys Berejiklian Premier of NSW
Sarah Mitchell Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning

Schools will begin their staggered return to face to face learning on Monday 18 October, one week earlier than initially planned, thanks to the heroic vaccination efforts of NSW.

Students will now return to face-to-face learning with NSW Health approved COVID-safe settings on the following dates:

 From 18 October – Kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 12
 From 25 October – Year 2, 6 and 11
 From 1 November – Year 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 and 10

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the return to school plan was always linked to the vaccination rates of the community, and thanks to faster vaccination rates than expected, students will be able to return to the classroom sooner.

“We have been clear that a return to school should begin once the state passed 70 per cent fully vaccinated, and thanks to the incredible efforts from the people of NSW, we will reach that milestone sooner than expected,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“Managing a return in a school system the size of NSW’s is not a small task. Keeping the staged approach, but moving it all one week earlier, allows schools to shift their plans forward and still provides time for staff and eligible students to get vaccinated.”

Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Sarah Mitchell said an additional week of quality face-to-face learning for students is worth having and can be achieved in a safe and sensible way.

“It’s fantastic that we will meet vaccination targets in NSW earlier than originally anticipated. This has allowed us to shift the plan forward for all schools across impacted areas,” Ms Mitchell said.

“Bringing the return forward allows schools to keep their plans for a staggered return, and provides time for staff to get their second dose. From 18 October, all staff that need to be on site must be fully vaccinated.

“I know there remain some concerns in the community around a return to school, but students, staff and parents should feel confident that this approach allows enough time to make schools as COVID safe as possible.”

The final date for staff to receive two doses of the COVID vaccine remains 8 November, unless staff have a medical exemption.

Families who cannot keep their children at home for any reason have always been able to send their children to school, and that continues to be the case.

Schools will begin communicating their COVID-safe plans to families from next week.

The public health advice for parents to keep their children home from early childhood education and care services where possible will also be lifted from 18 October 2021.

Areas of Regional NSW where stay at home orders have already been lifted will continue learning face-to-face from Day 1, Term 4.