As we approach the start of the first school term of the year in NSW, some parents are confused about the rules and expectations surrounding their child's return to school. So we have compiled a simple guide with information from NSW Health and Department of Education (DET) to help clear up any unanswered questions.
These guidelines, the DET says were created in close conjunction with NSW Health.
The Mudgee Guardian asked parents via an Instagram poll if they felt prepared and if they felt their children were safe to return to school. Reactions were mixed, with many saying they're unsure when schools will receive their shipment of RATs. Local schools as of Wednesday, 26 January are still waiting on supplies of Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) but they are expected to arrive by the weekend.
For more on all of this, visit the NSW Education website.
Angela Myles, Executive Principal at St Matthews said she's confident the measures will allow students to return to school safely.
"We're really pleased that we've got a plan in place to be able to return to school and have students back at school, I think that's absolutely essential to have them being able to attend face to face classes," she said.
"The systems that are being put in place around regular RAT testing [sic] should support that transition back - to minimise the disruption is really what it's intended to do. So it's not going to be perfect. It won't be perfect anywhere, they'll still be lots of ups and downs, I think, especially in that first month.
"We're confident that what's in place will will minimise disruption and keep kids in the classroom as much as possible."
From the beginning of Term 1 2022, local schools will operate with a number of COVID-smart measures that have been developed with an aim to minimise transmission and keep schools open.
Rapid antigen tests (RATs) will be provided to all students and staff by their schools according to NSW Health.
Before the start of Term 1, it is highly recommended all students undertake a RAT and confirm a negative result before attending school.
For just the first month of Term One. It is recommend students take a RAT twice a week on mornings before attending school. It is not mandatory however.
If your child has even mild COVID-19 symptoms, the DET says to get them tested with a RAT or PCR (nose and throat swab) test.
They must isolate until they receive a negative test result, in line with health protocols.
If symptoms continue, they should stay at home and take another RAT in 24 hours or have a PCR test. If the second RAT or initial PCR test result is negative, or another diagnosis is confirmed such as hay fever, they can return to school.
All primary and secondary school staff are required to wear surgical masks indoors.
Vented or cloth masks should NOT be worn. If required, surgical masks will be available at schools if required.
Secondary school students will be provided with surgical masks as a backup when needed, which they must wear when indoors.
Masks are also strongly encouraged in outdoor settings where you cannot physically distance.
Primary school students are strongly recommended to wear well-fitted masks indoors and in outdoor settings where you cannot physically distance.
Your child can remove their mask when eating, exercising or playing a musical instrument.
If there is a positive case in your child's class, year or other grouping, your child can continue to attend school in line with NSW Health advice.
Negative results do not need to be reported to Service NSW or to the school.
If a student or staff member receives a positive RAT test, they - according to NSW Health - need to:
No parents, carers or visitors will be allowed on school sites until further notice with the following exceptions:
Current settings will continue from Thursday, 27 January 2022 until Sunday, 28 February 2022, including:
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