Education Department welcomes report on Covid in schools

The Department of Education has issued a media statement on a report into the spread of Covid in NSW schools and child care centres

09 September 2021
Students playing in the school playground
Image: We work with NSW Health to keep schools COVID safe

The NSW Department of Education welcomes the report from National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) published earlier this week.

We are led by the advice of NSW Health and have been managing the operational response to COVID-19 for the past 18 months to ensure our school and early childhood education communities remain safe.

When COVID positive cases are identified, well-rehearsed systems and protocols are followed to close affected schools and early childhood education and care services for deep cleaning, to notify parents and carers, and for NSW Health to undertake contact tracing before facilities are reopened.

The report confirms that achieving a high rate of vaccination amongst eligible staff, parents and students (over 16) is a critical step toward reducing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities and achieving a safe return to face-to-face learning in schools, and early childhood education and care services.

The Department of Education continues to work closely with NSW Health on the vaccination roll out, with the health, wellbeing and safety of children, young people, their families, and staff members our top priority.

The report also confirms that most children diagnosed with COVID-19 during the current outbreak, including those who caught the infection in schools and early childhood settings, experienced mild or no symptoms, with two per cent requiring hospitalisation.

Vaccinations for all education staff across all sectors will be mandatory from 8 November.

The report also confirmed the importance of the restrictions in place as part of the Department’s back to school plan developed alongside NSW Health.

To support the return to classrooms and early childhood education and care services, we encourage all eligible staff, students (over 16) and family members to seek an available vaccination and help protect both themselves and other members of their educational community from COVID-19.

Parents are strongly encouraged to get the vaccine as soon as possible.

As the regulator of Education and Care Services in NSW the Department’s priority is the health, safety, and wellbeing of children.

The Department has worked closely with NSW Health throughout the pandemic to ensure the safety of the sector and the community, and will continue to ensure that those identified as close contacts and at risk are contacted through the appropriate Health channels.

We also are grateful to the parents, teachers, educators, and principals who have strived to keep school and ECE communities safe throughout the pandemic and ensured children and young people received a high-quality education in both face-to-face and learning from home settings.

The report should give students, staff, parents and carers confidence that when school returns the settings and plans in place will protect everyone involved.

For current Advice for Families visit this link

For current Advice for School Based Staff visit this link

For current Advice for Early Childhood Education and Care Services visit this link

For further information about the NSW Department of Education response to COVID-19 is available on the Department’s website.

Further information on COVID-19 is also available on the NSW Government website.

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