All public schools in NSW must adhere to the new guidelines from August 19.
All public schools in NSW must adhere to the new guidelines from August 19.

COVID-19 crackdown at schools: Tests for kids with symptoms

NEW health advice announced today to parents and carers said that, from Wednesday, a negative COVID-19 test for children is requested before they go back to school, after presenting with flu-like symptoms.

The new guidelines from NSW Department of education confirmed that "anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 is prohibited from returning to school until a negative test result has been reported."

Letters received from schools today by Northern Rivers parents and carers and sighted by The Northern Star specified that even very mild symptoms will get children sent back home.

"Teachers must send any student who is exhibiting any flu-like symptoms home. This includes very mild symptoms, e.g. runny nose, cough," the communication stated.

"If a student has been absent due to flu-like illness or develops flu-like symptoms while at school, they are not to return to school until they have a negative COVID-19 test and are symptom-free.

"The negative COVID-19 test result must be sighted and received by the school before their return to school."

All public schools in New South Wales will be required to adopt the changes from Wednesday 19 August, "to ensure school communities remain safe inside and outside the school gate", according to NSW Department of Health.

Under additional measures for Term 3, students must remain within their relevant class or year group to limit mixing.

Schools must not travel outside their local community or zone, including between rural and regional areas.

Inter-school sport and zone carnivals are restricted to 100 people per venue and must be held in the local area.

Spectators, including parents and carers, are not permitted within school grounds or at sporting events held during school hours.

All group singing and or other chanting activities, as well as the use of wind instruments in group settings are not permitted.

Dance activities and drama group work can continue under a COVID-19 Safety Plan.

School formals, dances, graduation or other social events are not permitted. Schools may hold a Year 12 assembly at school without parents to recognise the completion of school or consider delaying events until later in the year.

Students and staff required to support HSC students are permitted to undertake activities to meet their HSC requirements with COVID-19 safety measures in place.

Organisations that use school buildings or grounds must have a COVID-19 safety plan in place and encourage strict compliance with that plan.

A full list of the changes is available at

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