Level 2 schools

COVID-safe; restrictions on activities and non-essential visitors.

No NSW public schools are currently operating at this level.

Last updated 12:30 pm 19 October 2021

A reminder for all families

Students must not attend work or school if unwell, even with mild symptoms of COVID-19. Any person with any COVID-19 symptoms must be sent home and not return to school unless:

  • they have isolated for 10 days, when no medical certificate is available
  • they have a negative COVID-19 test result and are symptom free.

In circumstances where children have other medical reasons for recurrent symptoms, a letter from their GP is sufficient to negate the requirement for a negative test.

Anyone who is unwell with COVID-19 symptoms is strongly encouraged to get tested and self-isolate until a negative result is received. Find your local testing clinics.

Vulnerable staff and students 

Schools should continue to support vulnerable staff and student cohorts, with vulnerable staff supported to work from home. 

In line with current health advice, the following persons are considered vulnerable: 

  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people over the age of 50 with one or more chronic medical conditions

  • people aged 65 years or older with chronic medical conditions  

  • people aged 70 years or older 

  • people with a compromised immune system. 

Cyber safe families

Refer families to the following resources to support their children in being responsible online users:

  • Digital citizenship – a collection of articles and resources to maximise students’ use of technology.

Masks and face coverings 

While at school, masks or face coverings are recommended in all indoor settings  for:  

  • all staff 
  • all students  K-12.

Masks are mandatory on public transport. This applies to students aged 12 years and over, and staff when travelling to and from school and during school excursions by public transport or by chartered or private transport services. 

This will mean while a 12 year old is strongly encouraged to wear a mask while at school (in primary school), they will be required to wear a mask when travelling with their cohort on public transport. Transport NSW are in the process of updating their information.


Non-essential visitors are not permitted in schools. Some visitors are permitted in schools based on the guidelines that follow.

Parents and carers must follow their school’s advice regarding changes to drop off and pick up including staying in the car when dropping off and picking up children if safe to do so.

Parents should:  

  • maintain physical distancing by avoiding gathering outside of school gates
  • remain outside of school grounds (note some exceptions may apply regarding schools for specific purposes, vulnerable students or students with disability)
  • follow mask-wearing requirements and sign in using the Service NSW QR code when entering the school.

QR code sign-in process for all staff and visitors

The NSW Government have introduced mandatory QR codes across a range of additional settings, including schools. All staff and visitors permitted on school sites will be required to check in and check out using the QR codes.

Parents and carers or other visitors to the school who do not have access to electronic devices for the purposes of QR check in can:

  • authorise another person to provide their contact details on their behalf
  • provide their details to the school to be recorded in an appropriate manner for provision to NSW Health should it be required. In these circumstances, please enter any paper records into an electronic format such as a spreadsheet within 12 hours to support NSW Health contact tracing should it be required
  • use their QR code check-in card which can be created at Create a COVID-19 check-in card.

What is permitted during school hours and within schools under these restrictions 

Schools can operate:

  • Secondary College of Languages (formerly known as Saturday School of Languages) 
  • SRE/SEE 
  • Sport
  • Work experience 
  • Emergency drills.  

Community activities

  • Childhood Education Services (OSHC, vacation care, preschools etc.)  
  • Community Language Schools 
  • Playgroups 
  • Share Our Space will proceed in-line with current health advice. All visitors will be required to practice physical distancing and check in using the Service NSW QR code 
  • School holiday programs 
  • All external providers and specialist programs not directly related to educational outcomes and support   
  • GAs can conduct critical or urgent works on site.


  • Allied Health partners and non-school staff that are unable to deliver critical services remotely 
  • Workers supporting the infrastructure development and maintenance of schools can continue on site. This includes contractors and maintenance providers.

Trade schools, VET and TAFE courses,and research

  • These activities are permitted with COVID-Safe practices in place. 

Practicum teachers and professional experience placement  

  • Professional experience placements are voluntary for all schools. This includes TAFE admin placements.
  • Schools should provide face to face learning opportunities for pre-service teachers where possible and mixed delivery learning opportunities where face to face is not possible. 

Aged Care work placements and employment

Vocational students, school based apprentices and trainees who live and learn outside of Greater Sydney can continue to attend aged care facilities in-line with current health advice.

Students travelling to and from Greater Sydney are not permitted. These placements will be deferred.

What is permitted with modification 

School based activities 

  • Assemblies can be held with COVID-safe practices in place. No visitors permitted.
  • Singing, chanting, group repetition and choirs are permitted if conducted outside in a well-ventilated area.
  • Bands and ensembles are permitted in line with current health advice.
  • Dance or drama are permitted in line with COVID-Safe practices within classes. · Library activities are permitted in line with the Infection Control requirements.
  • ·Principal-endorsed activities for students.


  • Community use and events outside school hours.
  • Excursions will be limited to outdoor locations within the Local Government Area of the school where the school can demonstrate COVID Safe practices.
  • Parents and carers may attend for the purposes of school orientation programs.
  • School orientation programs such as Kindergarten orientation and transition activities are permitted with COVID-safe practices in place.
  • Inter-school sport and physical activity, including the Representative School Sport pathway (team and individual), can occur across Local Government Areas (apart from those under stay-at-home rules) with COVID-safe practices in place. This includes gala days, trials, knock outs and carnivals.
  • Schools must make alternative arrangements for performances, productions, concerts, speech nights, award presentations, graduations, formals and school dances that support the broader guidance. Personal hygiene, physical distancing, cleaning and record keeping practices must be adhered to at these events.

Community activities  

  • P&C activities including meetings
  • Community use outside school hours
  • Canteens and uniform stores where appropriate hygiene measures are in place
  • Electoral commission officers conducting polling location inspections permitted they follow COVID-19 requirements for visitors
  • All polling days will require additional planning from the electoral commission based on health advice of the time.

Activities that are not permitted or on hold during school hours or within school grounds 

Schools must cease the following activities.

School based activities 

  • Camps and out of area field trips  
  • Voluntary student activities of a religious nature (VSA).
  • Overnight stays 
  • International excursions 
  • Student visits to aged care facilities (excluding Vocational students, school based apprentices and trainees)
  • Community events within school hours such as Grandparents Day and School fetes.  


  • Official visitors and dignitaries 
  • Media and production crews. 


Updated 2 pm 1 October 2021

Schools must implement COVID-Safe arrangements for exams to minimise mingling between students.  

NESA has announced a number of changes to the 2021 HSC timetables.

For more information, refer to HSC exam advice.

Teachers, students and parents can also contact the NESA COVID-19 support team on 1300 138 323 or covid19support@nesa.nsw.edu.au or visit educationstandards.nsw.edu.au/covid-19-advice

Boarding schools  

Boarding Schools must comply with all school requirements set out in these guidelines. Further advice, developed with NSW Health, has been issued to boarding schools.

Preschools managed by the department

Families should follow normal sign in/out procedures and COVID safe guidelines when dropping off and picking up. Preschools should consider procedures to support pick up and drop off from the school gates. Where this is not possible or unsafe, families should pick up from the entrance of the preschool, following COVID-safe guidelines.

Masks are recommended for all staff working in Early Childhood Education and Care settings on Level 2 restrictions when indoors.

For more information, refer to Early childhood education and care.

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