A COVID-Safe Return To School


A COVID-Safe Return To School

The ACT Government released the details of how all school students will return to on campus learning in term 4. The newly announced arrangements include early childhood education and care and out of school hours care services. This is an important step to support the safety, education and wellbeing of our youngest Canberrans and their families.

The timing of this staged return to school is in line with the ACT’s COVID-19 Pathway Forward. It is designed to align with critical community vaccination rates and the pace of the easing of restrictions in other parts of the ACT community, and builds on the previous announcement in relation to years 11 and 12.

  • From Monday 25 October (week 4, term 4), preschool, kindergarten, and years 1, 2, 6, 9 and 10 can return to on campus learning. These year groups will also be able to attend their usual out of school hours care programs.
  • Children can return to early childhood services from 25 October.
  • From Monday 1 November (week 5, term 4), years 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8 can return to on campus learning. All students will be able to attend their usual out of school hours care programs.  

Through consultations with over 6,000 students, parents, carers and staff, the government has heard that a phased return should prioritise students in transition years, as well as younger children.

As previously announced, from Tuesday 5 October (week 1, term 4) year 12 students can start returning to on campus learning. Year 11 students can also return to on campus learning from Monday 18 October (week 3, term 4). Some year 11 students can also attend school for essential assessment from 5 October, if that assessment cannot wait until 18 October. Schools are communicating these arrangements directly with students and families.

Health and safety measures will be in place in schools to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission, including:

  • encouraging vaccination of eligible students, staff and families
  • continuing our current policy of mandatory use of the Check In Canberra app for all adults
  • ensuring fresh air ventilation is optimised in all settings
  • physical distancing density measures for adults, and
  • mandatory mask wearing for staff across all schools, and for students in years 7-12.

Physical distancing measures for students include limiting the mingling of classes and year groups, staggering breaks, and increased use of outdoor spaces. Other measures include: limitation of on-site visitors to essential visitors only, environmental cleaning, and high vigilance around not allowing anyone with symptoms of illness to attend.

For more information from the Chief Health Officer : Health Guidelines For Schools and Early Childhood Education Services (Including Out of School Hours Care)