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Coronavirus Australia: Thousands of NSW students return to classroom amid rapid antigen test plans

Back to school: Finally relief for home-schooling parents as ALL kids in NSW go back to class TODAY – here’s what you need to know… including plans for Covid testing at the gate

  • NSW students in grades 2-6 and 7-11 will return to the classroom on Monday
  • Schools welcomed back kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 12 last week  
  • NSW Education Department is ‘exploring’ rapid antigen testing for students


Thousands of excited students will see their teachers and schoolmates for the first time in months when they return to the classroom.

NSW schools will welcome back all students on Monday after nearly four months of home schooling and online learning during the Covid-19 lockdown.

More than 150,000 students in kindergarten, years 1 and 12 who returned to face to face learning a week ago will be joined by other grades.

But school life will be different with the possibility of rapid antigen testing for students being explored.

Thousands of NSW students will return to school for the first time in four months. Pictured are years one and two returning to Glebe PS on October 18

The NSW Education Department implemented Covid-safe measures and completed an audit on 2200 public schools across the state.

Masks are required to be worn by all staff and all high school students indoors. They are not essential for younger primary students but are strongly recommended.

The department warned of changes to school-based activities such to assemblies, sport, and excursions to encourage distancing and keep students and staff safe.

All students aged 12 and older are strongly urged to get vaccinated before returning to school.

More than 77 per cent of students aged 12 to 15 have received at least one dose. 

Masks are strongly recommended for primary school aged students in indoor settings

Masks are strongly recommended for primary school aged students in indoor settings

The department told parents rapid antigen testing for students on arrival was being explored by education and health authorities.

More details are expected to be announced later in term four. 

‘We are exploring with NSW Health the use of Covid home testing kits (known as rapid antigen testing) as a further screening measure to reduce the risk of outbreaks in schools, or the length of time students need to isolate after contact with someone with Covid,’ a newsletter read.

Rapid antigen testing pilot programs are underway in several NSW independent schools.

All eyes are also on south of the border, where new pilot program is being trialled In Victoria.

Schoolchildren who are close contacts of Covid-19 cases will be able to return to the classroom if they have a negative rapid test result.

The Victorian Government is trialling 15-minute antigen tests on students as part of a plan to use them across the state.

The tests aim to cut down on the number of days children have to spend away from the classroom due to a fellow student testing positive.

If the trial is successful, rapid tests will be rolled out across society to combat the economic loss created by groups being locked out of work for days due to being contacts of the infected or having been at an exposure site.

Students may have to under go rapid antigen testing under plans being considered by the NSW government

Students may have to under go rapid antigen testing under plans being considered by the NSW government 

The first cohort of students returned on October 18 with the rest to be welcomed back on Monday

The first cohort of students returned on October 18 with the rest to be welcomed back on Monday

Some 67 NSW schools were forced to temporary close in the last fortnight due to Covid outbreaks.

The return to school will be delayed for another seven after they were closed over the weekend for deep-cleaning and contact tracing.

Staff and students from public schools at Albion Park, Auburn North, Curl Curl – including the Curly Kids out of school hours facility – Garden Suburbs, Green Hill, Hinchinbrook and Manning Gardens are asked to self-isolate and follow NSW Health protocols. 

If a Covid-19 case emerges at a school, students identified as close contacts will be required to isolate at home for two weeks.

Students identified as casual contacts must return a negative test before they can return to school.

NSW deputy chief health officer Marianne Gale urged parents and children to ‘remain vigilant’ as schools return to full capacity.

‘If any of our kids have even the mildest of symptoms, it’s really important not to go to school, it’s important to go and get a test and stay home until you receive a negative result,’ she said.

Grades 8-11 will return to high school across NSW on Monday, a week after years seven and 12

Grades 8-11 will return to high school across NSW on Monday, a week after years seven and 12

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