NSW Govt Releases Back to School Timeline

The NSW Government has announced its plan for the end of homeschooling in NSW.

Staggered Return

There will be a staggered return to face-to-face learning from October, HSC exams will be delayed until November and vaccinations for school staff will be mandatory based on the return to school plan released by the NSW Government today.

The Department of Education has developed a plan to bring students back in a COVID-safe way while stay at home orders are still in place – ensuring continuity of education, and protecting student, teacher and community safety.

Back to School Timetable

A staggered return of students to face-to-face learning will begin on Monday 25 October.
Students will return to face-to-face learning with NSW Health approved COVID safe settings on school sites in the following order:

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

Year 12 students are already able to return in a limited way and this will continue for the remainder of Term 3. From 25 October, Year 12 will have full time access to school campuses and their teachers.

HSC Exams

HSC exams will be delayed until 9 November with a revised timetable and guidelines for a COVID-safe HSC to be released by NESA in early September. Importantly, the delay of the HSC exams will not disadvantage NSW students when applying to university.

COVID19 Level 3

Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Sarah Mitchell said:

“We will return to our level three COVID restriction settings with all school principals aware of that, [they have been] in place for some time.”
“What it will mean [is] things like staggering break times, not mixing your group cohorts, not having assemblies, band, choir, those activities were children might gather together, we won’t have any external visitors to school site and the mask wearing is a really important element.”

“Mandatory mask-wearing for all our staff and school sites. Mandatory mask-wearing for all high school students and for the first time we will strongly encourage our primary school students to wear masks.”


Children aged between 12 and 15 are being added to Australia’s vaccine rollout.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has provided advice to government that states the Pfizer vaccine is safe and effective for that age group.

In a statement, ATAGI said it recommended 12- to 15-year olds should be added to Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination program over time.

Some children in that age bracket with underlying health conditions were already eligible for the vaccine, but the latest advice expanded the rollout to include the entire cohort.
While Pfizer supplies remain limited, ATAGI recommends the timing of including adolescents needs to be balanced against access to vaccines for priority groups.
The states and territories are in charge of deciding when mass vaccine hubs can vaccinate children.

A reporter at today’s press conference asked the Premier if she was aware that parents were already booking in their children for the vaccination and will those bookings be honoured (even though they have not released an official booking link). The Premier said any bookings will be honoured subject to the availability of the Pfizer vaccine.

Vaccinations for all school staff across all sectors will be mandatory from 8 November. NSW Health will be providing priority vaccinations at Qudos Bank Arena for school staff the week beginning 6 September.

Early childcare staff will also be able to participate in the priority vaccinations from 6 September. All school and early childcare staff are also encouraged to make use of the GP network to be vaccinated with whatever vaccine is available as soon as possible.

A recent survey of the public school workforce indicated the majority of staff already had at least one dose of a vaccine.

All students eligible for a vaccine will be strongly encouraged by the government to book an appointment.

All parents who have not been vaccinated are strongly encouraged to get the vaccine as soon as possible.  Details here of where you can get the AZ vaccine in Lane Cove.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the NSW Government is prioritising the safety and education of students through a sensible and managed return to school.

“The return to school plan provides parents, teachers and students with certainty and a path forward for the return to face-to-face learning,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“We know the last few months have been tough on the school community and we are deeply grateful to parents, teachers and students for the sacrifices you have made. Please continue to protect our students by getting vaccinated as quickly as possible.”

Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Sarah Mitchell said the education and safety of our students is essential.

“The classroom is where students learn best and I thank the entire community for playing their role in this return by getting vaccinated,” Ms Mitchell said.

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