School life returns to normal in NSW with easing of COVID-19 restrictions

NSW schools are easing COVID-19 restrictions in line with community settings that allow life to be as normal as possible while living with the virus.

COVID Smart settings in NSW schools have been revised, giving students the first taste of normal school life since the pandemic began two years ago.

Core COVID Smart measures will remain in place, including enhanced cleaning and maximising natural and mechanical ventilation in line with health advice.

From Monday 28 February:

  • Cohorting requirements and activity restrictions will be relaxed – enabling students to engage and interact more freely across classes and year groups.
  • Schools will be able to welcome more visitors onto school grounds, including parents, and will resume activities such as assemblies and school camps.
  • Mask requirements will be lifted for high school students and staff.

From Monday, 7 March:

  • Mask requirements will be lifted for primary school and early childhood education educators.
  • Staff in Schools for Specific Purposes (SSPs) will continue to be required to wear masks based on health advice.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said the relaxation of some measures while keeping others in place was a sensible approach that gives students, staff and parents more freedoms to enjoy school life while keeping the school community safe.

“It is time to afford our students and parents more normality. Everyone wants to get back to the school activities and events we all love,” Mr Perrottet said.

The return to school and the start of term has been a success, COVID transmission has reduced throughout the community, and while there will still be cases and bumps in schools it is time for our students to enjoy normal school life.”

Premier Dominic Perrottet

Minister for Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell said this was the first time since the pandemic started two years ago that students have enjoyed this level of normality.

“We know transmission in schools is extremely low, and not a single school has closed since school returned despite the levels of community transmission,” Ms Mitchell said.

“Relaxing cohorting and restrictions on visitors will let more parents engage with their child’s school and allow students to participate in cross-year group activities, which is welcome news for both students and parents everywhere.

“The return to school, and now the return to school life, is successful because of the tremendous efforts and teamwork from all parents, staff and students. I thank all of our school communities for their support.”

COVID Smart settings will continue to be reviewed and updated, as necessary on health advice.