Supporting the independent education community

NSW Health: New guidance for activities at NSW schools


The NSW government has responded to calls from the IEU calling for new and strengthened guidance around acceptable activities in NSW schools. NSW Health have today release this new guidance for permittable activities in NSW schools.


This information is from the NSW Education website, and was last updated on 17 August 2020.

Students and staff with flu-like symptoms will need to provide a copy of a negative COVID-19 test result before being permitted to return to school.


Schools are not required to conduct widespread temperature screening or mandate the wearing of a mask.


All schools will be vigilant when implementing infection control, physical distancing and personal hygiene protocols to protect the health and safety of students and staff. Schools will promote the need to follow good hygiene practices such as:

  • regularly washing hands
  • avoiding sharing drinks or food
  • coughing or sneezing into your elbow, or a tissue which should be discarded immediately
  • filling water bottles from bubblers rather than using the bubbler directly.


School activities/school site usage

Additional safety measures for school activities have been put in place to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission in schools for the remainder of Term 3.

The following principles underpin these measures:

  • Where possible, students will stay within their relevant cohort group (i.e. class, year group, or stage) for all learning activities within their school in order to limit close contacts to the relevant student cohort.
  • Interschool activities must remain within the local community or zone. This applies to all interschool sport and physical activities, curriculum activities, arts activities and extra-curricular activities organised or sponsored by the school. Schools must not travel outside of their local community area. Metropolitan schools cannot travel outside their local area or to regional areas. Regional areas cannot travel into metropolitan areas or other regional areas. Find your school's sport zone.
  • Only providers that are essential to the delivery of curriculum can continue to provide services and programs until further notice.
  • Parents/carers and other non-essential visitors are not allowed on the school site.
  • All group singing (choirs) and/or other chanting activities, as well as the use of wind instruments in group settings, are not permitted. Special arrangements are in place for HSC students.
  • Year 11 and 12 students completing HSC subjects may continue to attend classes/activities relating to subjects only available on other campuses. All other students including Year 11 students not completing an HSC subject are not to attend other campuses for the remainder of Term 3. TAFE and other Vet programs may continue.
  • School formals, dances, graduation or other social events are not permitted Schools may hold a Year 12 assembly at school without parents to recognise the completion of school. Schools may consider delaying events until later in the year.

Activities/site usage that can take place

  • Use the school library
  • Engage in sporting activities within restrictions
  • Canteens and uniform shops can open at the principal’s discretion
  • All VET work placements can proceed subject to the availability of placement, appropriate risk assessments, and a COVID-19 Safety Plan must be in place. For any that can't proceed, refer to the NESA websitExternal linke.
  • School-based apprenticeships and traineeships can recommence once the relevant workplaces are back in operation and a COVID-19 Safety Plan is in place.
  • Trade Training Centres can operate on school sites with a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place
  • School assemblies (limited to 15 minutes and no external visitors)
  • Students may attend other schools for essential curriculum related reasons or placements (e.g. auditions or placement tests)
  • Hydrotherapy pools can be used
  • Incursions/external providers can provide activities that support delivery of curriculum (e.g. music tutors, sport skills development programs, science demonstrations, drama tutors, Healthy Harold)
  • Day field trips to outdoor locations with no physical distancing requirements can take place (e.g. DoE Environmental Education Centres and sport and recreation facilities, trips to the local river to collect water samples)
  • Face-to-face TAFE attendance (see TAFE website for further information)
  • School photos
  • Department of Community and Justice services and programs
  • Community use agreements involving adult attendance must have a COVID Safe Plan in place
  • SRE/SEE lessons within restrictions
  • Work experience for students with a COVID Safe Plan in place
  • P&C meetings and events must be on-line only
  • Parent/teacher meetings will be online unless involving serious matters that require face to face discussion.

Activities on hold for Term 3

The following events will be reconsidered in Term 3. For now, these events must remain on hold.

  • Kindergarten orientation
  • Year 7 orientation has been delayed until Term 4
  • School camps
  • Excursions (other than field trips explained above)
  • Interstate excursions
  • International excursions (cancelled until further notice)
  • All students (except year 12 students) attending classes/activities relating to subjects only available on other campuses
  • School or community-run playgroups
  • Face-to-face professional learning for staff. Refer to the Physical distancing guidelines.
  • Parent and carer attendance at assemblies and other school events
  • Parent and carer volunteers – e.g. parent reading helpers (note: canteen and uniform shop volunteers are permitted)
  • School-based activities that involve large gathering of adults. These include parent/community gatherings such as parent functions, working bees, fundraisers, school BBQs, large parent information evenings, and large on-site cultural events
  • Interschool sport, drama, debating and other events that are not within the local community or zone including gala days and regional sporting carnivals.
  • Certain large arts and sports events are cancelled or delayed. Many large-scale arts events and sports tournaments rely upon feeder activities and have long-lead-time organisational arrangements. As a consequence, a number of annual activities are planned to be delayed or cancelled (refer to Impacts on arts and sports events programs)

Activities that are cancelled

  • Certain large arts and sports events are cancelled or delayed because they require feeder activities and have long lead time organisational arrangements. Please speak to your schools if you would like to know more.
  • International excursions are cancelled until further notice.

Physical distancing

Physical distancing of students in schools is not required under the AHPPC guidelines.

All teachers, support staff and parents must maintain physical distance from each other (1.5m).

Parents should ensure school pick up and drop off arrangements enable them to physically distance from one another and from staff.

If you have any concerns around your school's adherence to these guidelines, contact your union organiser and the IEU will support you 100% in ensuring the safest possible working environment.