NSW school students will gradually transition back to the classroom during Term 2 as the Government continues to deal with the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

NSW Nationals Education Minister Sarah Mitchell outlined the plan for students attending NSW public schools to progressively return to face-to-face learning in week three of Term 2.

The NSW Government health advice continues to be that schools remain open, and parents, teachers and students can be confident that school is safe place.

During the first stage of on-campus learning, parents will be encouraged to keep their children home except on their allocated day of face-to-face learning. Initially, about a quarter of a school’s students are expected to be on site at any one time. The specific days students will be required to attend school each week will vary from school to school and will be clearly communicated to parents.

Classes will be split across schools, allowing schools to appropriately social distance students and teachers. As always, schools will remain open for students who need them and no child will be turned away from school.

Ms Mitchell said careful consideration had been given to support the school community, providing clarity and certainty on the path forward.

“This plan provides a clear path that balances community concerns with a need to deliver continuity of quality education,” Ms Mitchell said.

“Hand sanitiser will be available in all classrooms and provisions are in place for at-risk teachers to work from home. Drop off, pick up, recess and lunchtimes will also be staggered to ensure social distancing.”

In addition to the staged return to school, the Government has committed up to $95.7 million to help keep casual and temporary school staff engaged in active work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our casual and temporary teachers and other non-teaching staff across NSW schools are critical to our education system, and will help ensure the educational outcomes for our students during this staged return,” Ms Mitchell said.

A cross-sector working group of teachers will also be established to report back to the Minister on recent innovations and educational developments assembled during the COVID-19 period that are suitable to support future educational delivery.

“It’s important that we have an inventory of the cutting edge teaching solutions and recognise the best efforts of our amazing NSW teachers during a difficult time,” Ms Mitchell said.

Teachers will have an additional day to prepare for Term 2 on Tuesday, April 28 making the first day of term for students Wednesday, April 29.