NSW schools set to start 2022 with COVID-smart plan - Education Matters Magazine
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NSW schools set to start 2022 with COVID-smart plan

New South Wales students are set to return to school under a new COVID-smart setting that is expected to minimise the threat of covid to staff and students.

The 2022 COVID-smart plan includes twice a week surveillance testing for all students and school staff, which will be undertaken in the first four weeks of Term 1.

Students and teachers of government and non-government schools will receive rapid antigen test kits before the commencement of Term 1.

Mandatory masks will also be required for all high school staff and students, with mask wearing highly recommended from primary schoolers, but not mandatory.

Schools will also be required to limit action between year groups, and school visitors will also be limited to staff providing essential curriculum support.

COVID-safe settings will also be put in place for music, sports and excursions.

The New South Wales Government is dedicated to maximising ventilation, with plans to dispatch air purifiers where they are needed.

Contingency plans have also been put in place to manage any disruptions in the workforce, which includes utilising retired and studying teachers.

Dr Geoff Newcombe from The Association of Independent Schools of New South Wales said all three schooling sectors have worked closely together to develop this COVID-smart plan.

“School communities should feel confident about returning for Term 1 under these arrangements, which allow a wide range of activities to proceed with appropriate risk-assessment and planning,” Newcombe said.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said supporting students returning to school is imperative, especially after two years of disruption to their education.

“Students learn best at school, some students have spent a quarter of their schooling at home. We’re committed to bringing students back safely,” Perrottet said.

“New COVID-smart measures will help make this happen, including surveillance testing both students and staff twice weekly with RATs.”

Families will be notified by their schools on how and when to collect the RAT kits for their children.

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