COVID-safe guidelines to schools for HSC exams

Schools across NSW have received guidelines to support planning for the Higher School Certificate (HSC) written exams that start on 20 October.

Image: Schools will put plans in place to reduce disruption to HSC exams if notified of a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said students need to be reassured that everything is being done to make sure they can sit their HSC without disruption.

“HSC trials were held without major incident and we are now working with schools to implement guidelines and procedures that reduce the risk of a COVID-19 disruption for our HSC students,” Ms Mitchell said.

“We are continuing to prioritise health advice as we support schools in planning for and operating the HSC exams. The safety of students and staff involved remains our priority.

“A COVID-safe plan is about minimising disruption to students if there is a confirmed case at their school.”

The guidelines, developed in consultation with NSW Health, have been issued to principals by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA), who are responsible for the HSC.

NESA Chief Executive Officer Paul Martin said that he recognised preparing for the HSC exams during this pandemic is challenging.

“The aim of these guidelines is to provide as much clarity to schools and reassurance to students as possible, in line with health advice as we approach exams,” Mr Martin said.

In their planning, schools have been asked to consider:

  • prioritising a section of the school for rapid cleaning as well as having an alternative venue on standby.
  • developing exam day protocols including health screening, in line with sector or school policies and protocols.
  • recruiting additional exam supervisors.

Ms Mitchell said the department has issued guidelines to principals today asking them to limit student numbers to 75 students per exam room, limit HSC student interaction with the rest of the school and prioritise cleaning for exam venues.

“Each school’s contingency plans will be unique, school principals will be supported by their local directors and the department to develop and implement their individual plans.

“Schools have done an outstanding job in supporting their HSC students this year and the Class of 2020 have worked exceptionally hard under these circumstances.”

Sector guidance will be issued to schools to support implementation of NESA guidelines.

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