HSC exams have been delayed, and some students will return to school, but not until October 25.
In news most parents have been dreading, school students in Greater Sydney will not return to classrooms until October 25, and even then, only Kindergarten, year 1 and year 12 will have access to face-to-face teaching.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Education Minister Sarah Mitchell announced the roadmap for a return to school at today's COVID-19 press conference where it was also announced teaching staff would get priority access to vaccinations from September 6.
Students from years 2, 6 and 11 will return to school from November 1, while the rest of students will return to school from November 8.
However, while those areas that come out of lockdown may be able to go back to school sooner, there was not a clear answer on whether schools in local government areas of concern, such as Bayside and Georges River, will go back to school at the same time as other students.
All teachers and high school students will have to wear a mask at school, while primary school students will be strongly encouraged to also wear masks.
HSC exams will begin November 9, with NESA to release a new HSC exam timetable in September.
Whiile HSC results will not likely be released until mid-January, all students wishing to receive an ATAR will get one. Universities have been consulted about the delay, and year 12 students will not be disadvantaged with university offers, Ms Berejiklian said.
She said the NSW Government was working hard to have a safe plan to get children back to school.
She said she understood many parents were struggling to manage remote learning while working from home.
"We know how difficult it is," she said.
Ms Mitchell said that as a parent herself, she understood what a challenging time it had been.
"I am really pleased that I am able to provide a clear roadmap to going back to the classroom," she said.
"It will be a staggered return in line with increasing vaccination rates."
Ms Mitchell said the final back-to-school date was in line with mandatory vaccination of teaching staff "to protect workers and students". This will include early childhood educators.
Ms Berejiklian would not say if teaching staff would lose their jobs if they refused to be vaccinated.