Level 4 schools

Parents and carers in areas under stay-at-home rules must keep children – across primary and secondary school – at home unless they need to be at school. Schools and outside of school hours care (OOSHC) services are open for any child that needs it.

Stay-at-home rules apply to schools in Greater Sydney (including the Blue Mountains and Wollongong) until at least 12:01 am 30 September.

Stay-at-home rules will continue for the following regional LGAs: Bathurst, Bourke, Brewarrina, Broken Hill, Central Coast, Central Darling, Cessnock, Dubbo, Eurobodalla, Gilgandra, Goulburn, Mulwarre, Kiama, Lake Macquarie, Lithgow, Maitland, Mid-Western, Narromine, Newcastle, Orange, Port Stephens, Queanbeyan-Palerang, Shellharbour, Shoalhaven, Walgett and Wingecarribee LGAs in regional NSW. This advice replaces any existing orders in regional NSW.

From 12:01 am Tuesday 14 September, stay-at-home rules will be in place for schools in the Yass Valley Council for 2 weeks.

From 6 pm Thursday 16 September, stay-at-home rules will be in place for schools in Albury and Lismore LGAs for 7 days.

From 6 pm Friday 17 September, stay-at-home rules will be in place for schools in Glen Innes and Hilltops LGAs for 7 days.

Last updated 6 pm 17 September 2021

Updated advice for families

Last updated 2:20 pm 15 August 2021

Parents and carers must keep children – across primary and secondary school – at home unless they need to be at school. Schools and outside of school hours care (OOSHC) services are open for any child that needs it.

Schools will have minimal supervision on site for those students who cannot be educated at home, for example if their parent or carer is an essential worker.

If you are working from home, and your child is able to be educated from home, please keep them at home.

All non–core curriculum related activities are to cease on school site.

Schools should not turn away any student from attending the school site in person. Schools will provide a program of learning for students who attend school, and students who are learning from home.

Schools should revert to their remote learning mode, using existing resources and programs. For additional support, refer to Learning from home.

Parents and carers in the Bayside, Blacktown, Burwood, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Liverpool, Parramatta and Strathfield LGAs, as well as select suburbs in the Penrith LGA, are strongly encouraged to keep their children at home if they are able to do so, in order to limit movement in the community. These LGAs follow Level 4 plus restrictions.

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. 

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.

Cyber safe families

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

Masks and face coverings 

Last updated 4 pm 10 September 2021

All students in Year 7 and above are required to wear masks or face coverings in all indoor and outdoor settings while at school. It will also be mandatory for all staff and students to carry a mask with them at all times.

All staff, including early childhood education and care staff, are required to wear masks or face coverings in all indoor and outdoor settings while at school.

Some exemptions apply:

  • Staff are not required to wear a mask or face covering where it may affect the ability of a student or students to hear or engage with them, such as where students are hard of hearing.  

  • Staff and students are not required to wear a mask where they are alone in an office or classroom.

  • Masks or face coverings are not required to be worn by a staff member or student who has a physical or mental health illness or condition, or disability, that makes wearing a mask unsuitable. For example, if they have a skin condition, an intellectual disability, autism or trauma, they are not required to wear a mask. Refer to Face mask rules on the NSW Government website.

Masks remain mandatory on public transport. This applies to students aged 13 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.


Updated 1.50pm 5 August 2021

Non-essential visitors are not permitted on school sites.

Parents and carers must follow their school’s advice regarding changes to student drop off and pick up. This includes staying in the car when dropping off and picking up children if it is safe to do so. This does not apply to drop off and pick up from OOSHC as sign in and out procedures are required.

Parents should:

  • follow the physical distancing advice for their local area and avoid gathering outside of school gates
  • remain outside of school grounds (some exceptions may exist re SSP, vulnerable students or students with disabilities)
  • adhere to mask-wearing requirements and sign in using the Service NSW QR code when entering the school.

Practicum teachers and professional experience placement (including VET, TAFE, trade schools)

Last updated 4:30pm 26 July 2021

  • Department schools who choose to accommodate placements will only support final year pre-service teachers who are due to graduate by the end of this semester.
  • Professional experience placements are voluntary for all schools.
  • Schools will provide face-to-face learning opportunities for pre-service teachers where possible and mixed-delivery learning opportunities where face-to-face is not possible.
  • VET in schools work placement is deferred until further notice in line with NESA advice.
  • Trade schools, VET and TAFE courses will continue to be delivered virtually or deferred.
  • Some school-based apprenticeships and traineeships training can recommence. Refer to the Training Services website for more information.
  • Work experience is deferred.

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.

School operations

Updated 5:30pm 20 July 2021
Further advice will be provided about opportunity class exams. 
  • Early childhood services including outside of school hours care (OOSHC) can continue to operate for those who need it.

  • Families to be encouraged to keep their children at home wherever possible but no child will be turned away from school.

  • Implement revised attendance procedures incorporating use of “F” for students participating in learning from home.

  • Minimum staff on-site to oversee one unit of learning for students attending school site, noting that flexible syllabus requirements are in place.

  • Kindergarten orientation and transition activities are recommended to be delayed until later in Term 3 or early Term 4.

  • Canteens and uniform stores are not to operate.

  • No community use arrangements.

  • No community language schools.

  • No multicultural celebrations.

  • Continued enhanced cleaning and hygiene supply arrangements.

  • No P&C activities on school sites.


Special Religious Education (SRE)/Special Education in Ethics (SEE) is not permitted in schools operating under Level 4 restrictions.

Approved providers have modified their authorised curriculum to enable students to learn from home.

Parents/carers may wish to access the SRE and SEE resources through the portal entry points to lesson content below:

For more information or support on these resources, please contact the approved provider.

Voluntary Student Activities of a Religious Nature in Schools (VSA) are not permitted.

Outside of school hours care providers

Principals should support outside of school hours care (OOSHC) providers using small spaces within schools to access larger spaces to support reduced mingling wherever possible.

Distribution of learning from home materials

Updated 2.20pm 15 August 2021

An important part of a successful learning from home program for many schools is providing families with hard copies of materials and activities both as a supplement to online work being undertaken and for families with limited ability to use or access technology. Schools are employing a range of innovative practices to make sure all students have access to the appropriate materials to continue their learning from home.

Schools under stay-at-home rules but not in an LGA of concern (Level 4 plus schools) are encouraged to consider posting or couriering materials in the first instance. Schools can continue with their current practice if they are confident that they are distributing learning from home materials to families in a COVID safe and efficient way. This will include establishing minimal or no contact processes for parents to collect work and considering staggering times for work to be collected to minimise congestion.

HSC students

Updated 1.30pm 21 July 2021

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

The department will provide more advice shortly to support schools in conducting COVID-safe examinations.

For more information, refer to HSC exam advice.

HSC students are not to access school sites unless absolutely necessary. HSC students collecting major works is considered essential.

HSC students collecting major works should:

  • Contact their school to make arrangements.

  • Adhere to strict COVID-safe practices when at school including physical distancing and wearing a mask or face covering.

HSC students who are unable to collect their project or transport their project home are encouraged to work on their journal, reflections and theory work until further advice is provided.

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

Opportunity Class Test

The Opportunity Class Placement Test has been rescheduled to Wednesday 6 October 2021. This is due to the increased health and safety risks which prevent large groups of external students mixing and mingling with local school students. In mid-September 2021 you will receive your child’s ‘Test authority’ advice which will confirm where your child will sit the test.

Boarding schools

Boarding schools must comply with all school requirements set out in these guidelines, and send all students home where possible. Further advice, developed with NSW Health, has been issued to boarding schools.

All specialist settings, including SSPs and support units

Schools will consider additional support for families with students with disability and supporting their specific needs during this time.

The Assisted School Travel Program (ASTP) will remain available for students who access the service and continue to attend school on site. Adhere to COVID safe practices in line with NSW Health advice..

Preschools managed by the department

Department preschools can continue to operate as per advice for early childhood services.

All staff in Level 4 schools must wear masks in all indoor and outdoor settings. This now includes adults in all Early Childhood Education and Care settings, including when caring for and educating children.

Families are asked to support alternative arrangements for pick up and drop off from the school gates. Where this is not possible or unsafe, families should pick up from the door of the service, following COVID safe guidelines.

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


Open or well-ventilated spaces reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 because infectious particles are more quickly diffused in the open air than in spaces with less ventilation. Outdoor settings will be used where practicable.

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