Vaccination requirements for school sites

Department of Education staff no longer need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment from 1 August 2022, except for staff working in schools for specific purposes (SSPs) who must maintain 2 doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine, or hold a valid medical contraindication.

Last updated 2:30 pm 5 September 2022

Vaccination requirements

On 18 July 2022, the Secretary announced the NSW Department of Education’s updated policy position regarding COVID-19 vaccination for employees. This policy replaces the previous Secretary’s determinations and direction which required all department staff to be vaccinated or hold a valid medical contraindication. Implementation of the updated policy will be phased in at our sites from the beginning of Term 3 with unvaccinated staff able to return to the workplace from Monday 1 August 2022.

Department staff, including school-based staff, will not be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment. The exception is staff working in, or volunteering/visiting, SSPs, who are required to be double vaccinated with an approved COVID-19 vaccine (or hold a valid medical contraindication).

Staff working in hospital schools and juvenile justice centre schools are required to comply with the highest order vaccination requirement as determined by NSW Health and Department of Communities and Justice respectively.

The department’s COVID-smart layered measures, including masks, cleaning, ventilation and the use of rapid antigen tests, continue to be in place to allow face-to-face learning and teaching while maintaining student and staff wellbeing at our schools.

Refer to our Advice for families page for further information on our COVID-smart measures.

Requirements for ATSOs and ASTP drivers

Last updated 2:30 pm 5 September 2022

A new Public Health Order for Care Workers came into effect on Monday 5 September 2022 which no longer requires Assisted Travel Support Officers (ATSOs) and Assisted School Travel Program (ASTP) drivers to have 3 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. ATSOs and ASTP drivers are required to have a minimum of 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine under the department's policy.

Who needs to be vaccinated?

  • All department staff working at or visiting schools for specific purposes (SSPs) must be double vaccinated with an approved COVID-19 vaccine, or hold a valid medical contraindication.

  • all people doing work at schools for specific purposes (SSPs) that involves direct interaction with students, who are employed by the department, must be double vaccinated with an approved COVID-19 vaccine, or hold a valid medical contraindication.

  • Assisted Travel Support Officers (ATSOs) and Assisted School Travel Program (ASTP) drivers

  • Department of Education staff working in hospital schools and juvenile justice centre schools will be required to comply with the highest order vaccination requirement for vaccination as determined by NSW Health and Department of Communities and Justice respectively.

The following SSPs are exempt from the vaccination requirement:

  • NSW Centre for Effective Reading's Westmead and Wagga Wagga hubs.

The vaccination requirement for SSPs is in place to protect our students with disability, some of whom are more vulnerable to becoming severely ill if coming into contact with COVID-19.

Vaccination requirements do not apply to an education or care worker who carries out relevant work in an emergency. An emergency includes events such as paramedics responding to a medical emergency, firefighters responding to a fire or gas leak, workers responding to a sewage leak.

Proving vaccination status

All staff at SSPs, and Department of Education staff who are visiting or volunteering directly with students at SSPs, will need to attest that they meet the mandatory double vaccination requirements against COVID-19. They will then be asked by a responsible person (such as the principal) to show evidence of vaccination.

Evidence of vaccination includes:

  • Medical contraindication:
    • a verified Australian Immunisation Register immunisation medical exemption form.

You will not be allowed to work at an SSP without showing evidence of being double vaccinated against COVID-19.

Vaccinations for visitors and volunteers

There are no vaccination requirements for non-Department of Education staff, visitors and volunteers at SSPs. They are however required to wear masks whilst working/volunteering with students at greater risk of serious illness should they contract COVID-19.

Medical exemptions

Where a Department of Education worker, volunteer or visitor at an SSP has a medical contraindication, the following process is to be followed:

  • A medical contraindication form will need to be supplied to the school prior to the visit. The contraindication form must be the Australian Immunisation Register immunisation medical exemption form.

  • The SSP is required to conduct a risk assessment prior to the worker or volunteer attending the school site. The risk assessment will consider the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and identify measures that need to be put in place to minimise risks to health and safety.

Student vaccinations

Vaccinations are not mandatory for students. However, anyone eligible (currently anyone aged 5 and over) is encouraged to get vaccinated.

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