New COVID measures for schools in Term Two

Students and teachers who are close contacts but have no symptoms can return to school CCN339

As Term Two begins for Central Coast schools, the NSW Government has released its latest COVID smart plan for keeping students learning face to face safe.

Minister for Education and Early Learning, Sarah Mitchell, said the NSW Government is taking a commonsense approach to winter school settings and is well prepared to manage potential increases in cases of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses in schools.

“School is where our students learn best and we need to do everything we can to make sure that face to face learning continues with minimal disruption as we move into the colder months,” Mitchell said.

“The removal of isolation requirements for household contacts will support continuity of teaching and learning in schools.”

In line with the updated rules for the general community, teachers and students who are household contacts, but do not have COVID-19 or any symptoms, can return to school.

To return to school, all staff and students must notify the school that they are a household contact and do a daily rapid antigen test before school and wear a face mask indoors for the following five days.

Primary school students are strongly recommended to wear a face mask indoors.

Families and school staff can expect another drop of free rapid antigen tests (RATs) early in the term to support compliance with the new settings.

“The Department is taking extra steps to ensure accredited teachers are available to cover sick leave where needed, with non-school based teachers, retired teachers and final year teacher education students continuing to be deployed into classrooms as needed,” Mitchell said.

“Recruitment of teaching staff into non-school based roles will be paused and work will be taken off schools’ plates so they can focus on core teaching and learning.

“Schools will continue keeping windows and doors open wherever it is safe and practical to do so, because we know fresh air is an effective way to keep airborne viruses out.”

The Government has also equipped schools with additional air quality measures, including providing air purifiers in colder climates, installing mechanical ventilation, checking air conditioners and heaters and providing resources for school principals on recommended ventilation practices.

A school-level outbreak of COVID-19 may trigger the Education Department to direct the school to adopt one or more of the following additional COVID-smart measures for a short period of time: ceasing large indoor gatherings; ceasing off-site and inter-school activities; mask wearing for adults and high school students; limiting visitors to schools; separating cohorts of students; symptomatic use of RATs; and learning from home.

Schools, students and families will also be reminded about essential hygiene practices and to stay at home if they are unwell.

Media release, Apr 23
NSW Education Department