COVID-19 Updates



Advice from the department can be found here.

Update 24 May 2022

The Department has updated its advice to casuals for Term 2, specifically in relation to cancellations.

Update 17 May 2022

Federation intervention has resulted in the Department finally publishing clear information for staff that contract COVID. Principals were sent a COVID Situational Report this week and were requested to share this factsheet with their staff that can be printed out and placed in the staffroom for ease of reference. Federation’s advice to members published previously can be found here: COVID-19 advice to members - Schools | NSW Teachers Federation (

Update 13 May 2022

For the most up to date advice on COVID matters including leave arrangements and Guidelines for Backfilling due to COVID absences, please see COVID-19 advice to members - Schools 

Update 9 May 2022

Federation’s advice for non-school based members in relation to Term 2 school operations can be found here: COVID-19 advice to members - Non-School Based

Update 2 May 2022

Federation’s advice for members in relation to Term 2 school operations can be found here: COVID-19 advice to members - Schools

Update 28 April 2022

FAQs have been updated to reflect Federation’s advice in relation to the Premier’s April 20 announcements regarding isolation requirements for household close contacts and vaccination mandates:

Update 22 April 2022

Federation is currently seeking information from the Department and TAFE about the implications of the NSW Premier’s announcement this week regarding changes to isolation and vaccination requirements.

As of 22 April 2022, the advice that we can provide to members can be found at the following links:

Update 25 February


Update 24 February

We are still living in the middle of a pandemic - there were 8500 cases in our community today - so we have a long way to go before we can say we are out of this.

It therefore would have made sense to keep some of the restrictions in place and adopt a graduated approach to lifting restrictions in schools.

Our schools are complex places, you can’t maintain social distancing in a classroom, you can’t practise social distancing in a corridor.

Federation can’t understand why the Government wouldn’t take a more gradual approach in lifting the restrictions in schools. It makes sense to keep the restrictions in place for a little bit longer and assess as required.

The risk mitigation strategies in place have been working. We have always said that in the context of a pandemic you can never overcompensate in the implementation of risk mitigation strategies because the safety of our students and staff must come first.

The rapid antigen tests have been working. They have been detecting and preventing staff and students who have been infected from going on site. The masks are working in terms of stopping the spread of the infection. Why lift the restrictions in such a way? There is no rush in this. A cautious approach would have been far better.


Update 24 January

The NSW Teachers Federation will closely monitor the effectiveness of Covid risk mitigation measures as thousands of teachers and students return to the classroom.

Click here to read more.


Update 21 January

“Regrettably, there will be a lot of disruptions with the commencement of school year 2022. There is no avoiding it. The modelling and experiences from overseas tells us that there is likely to be high levels of infection in our schools and, as a result, high levels of absenteeism, which may render schools non-operational,” said NSW Teachers Federation President, Angelo Gavrielatos.

“What we have been insisting on in our discussions with senior officials is the bolstering of all risk mitigation strategies available to us. These strategies need to be implemented in a way that will minimise the risks that are inherent with this Omicron strain of the virus.

“One of those risk mitigation strategies is the use of rapid antigen testing. We have recommended that they be used as a "surveillance" approach, where both teachers and students are tested twice a week.

“While rapid antigen tests are an important line of defence, we need to ensure that masks and mask-wearing requirements are such that they maximise protection in our schools. The government must also act further on improving ventilation and air quality to ensure schools are as safe as possible.

“Ultimately, the health and safety must come first. The risk mitigation strategies must be upgraded to a level that offers the best protection for staff, students and our school communities.”


Media Updates

Update 14 January

Last week Federation acted proactively in seeking formal meetings with senior officials of the NSW Department of Education (DoE) to review and accordingly seek the implementation of enhanced risk mitigation strategies to ensure the safest possible conditions for the return to schools.

Further meetings are scheduled between senior officials of the Department and the Federation in the coming days.

Rest assured, the health and safety of members, students and our school communities at large, remains at the forefront of our deliberations with the DoE and governments. 

Read More

Update 24 November

Advice on RAHT testing and contact tracing please see: COVID-19 advice to members - Schools

Update 8 November

From today all public schools in NSW are operating at a revised Level 3 setting.

  • Schools that were operating under Level 3 Plus settings before 8 November are to retain their existing cohort model.
  • The remainder of the schools operating at the previous Level 3 setting need to implement a cohort model.
  • More information at the above links.

Update 28 October

Schools in the following regions are operating at Level 3 plus restrictions:

Greater Sydney (including the Blue Mountains and Wollongong) and the following LGAs: Bathurst, Bourke, Broken Hill, Central Coast, Cessnock, Dubbo, Eurobodalla, Goulburn Mulwarre, Kiama, Lake Macquarie, Lithgow, Maitland, Newcastle, Port Stephens, Queanbeyan-Palerang, Shellharbour, Shoalhaven and Wingecarribee.

All other schools are operating at Level 3 restrictions.

For information on vaccination requirements please click here.

Update 23 October

As members go back to face to face teaching and learning in Greater Sydney and continue face to face in regional NSW, the following provides an overview of what has been happening on behalf of the membership.

Click here for today’s written reports provided to Federation’s State Council on Covid related matters.

Update 11 October

The COVID FAQs have been updated to reflect the new Public Health Order that came into effect today 11 October Public Health (COVID-19 General) Order 2021 and the NSW government’s decision (Early return disrespects teachers) to bring forward and truncate the staggered return of face-to-face teaching for schools that have been the subject of extended stay-at-home periods.

Update 8 October


Update 7 October

This morning’s announcement by Premier Dominic Perrottet shows once again this Government’s complete disrespect for the teaching profession and the work that they do.

For the third time, and the second time in the space of a week, the complex and careful planning for the safe return of all teachers and students to the classroom has been thrown into disarray.

For the third time, this change has occurred without any prior consultation with the profession.

Click here to read more.


Update 6 October

  • Schools in areas of NSW that are subject to stay-at-home rules are learning from home under the Department’s Level 4 restrictions. Includes Greater Sydney (incl Wollongong and Blue Mountains) and parts of regional NSW
  • Schools in areas of regional NSW that are not subject to stay-at-home rules will have face to face learning for all students under the Department’s Level 3 restrictions
  • Schools in “areas of concern” in Greater Sydney also also be learning from home under Level 4 restrictions, NOT Level 4 plus

Update 30 September

Members were informed, through media outlets last night, that the staggered school return will now be brought forward by one week, commencing on the 18th October.

Follow the links for further information on the conditions needing to be met for members at Level 3 plus and aboveLevel 4  and Level 4 plus.

Federation continues to demand that the audit of schools regarding ventilation, and the associated measures to mitigate risks, be provided to the Federation prior to the resumption of the school term next Tuesday. Failure to do so will see Federation take further action to ensure the safety of members, students and all in our public school communities.

Update:29 September

For the most up to date information on restrictions in regional NSW visit Regional and rural restrictions.

All schools in areas subject to stay at home orders when Term 4 resumes on Tuesday 6 October will be operating under Level 4 restrictions.

Update 24 September

The Public Health Order pertaining to the work of our members in and supporting schools was published late yesterday afternoon. For further advice please go to COVID-19 advice to members - vaccination


Update:16 September

From 6pm tonight LGAs of Lismore and Albury – move back into stay at home orders for one week.

From 1pm today stay at home orders will be lifted for the following LGAs – noting tomorrow last day of term – schools return to face to face on LEVEL 3 operations

  • Bogan
  • Muswellbrook
  • Narrabri
  • Parkes
  • Blayney
  • Cabonne
  • Forbes
  • Snowy Monaro
  • Upper Hunter
  • Dungog
  • Bega Valley
  • Singleton

For more details on what level 3 restrictions look like for schools see Outside of Greater Sydney FAQ pag.

Update:14 September

As a result of a Covid case in the LGA of Yass, from 12.01 am Monday 13th September this LGA will revert to stay at home orders for the following fortnight.

This will mean that schools in the LGA will be operating at Level 4 for the remainder of this school week. Teachers will be working from home unless rostered on for the children of essential workers who can not be cared for or educated at home.

Yass LGA schools include  Binalong PS, Bowning PS, Gundaroo PS, Sutton PS, Wee Jasper PS, Yass PS, Berinba PS and Yass HS.

Update: 12 September

Following the announcement last Thursday regarding the lifting of stay-at-home orders for a number of regional areas, yesterday restrictions in the Mid Coast LGA were also lifted.

On Monday 13 September the teachers and staff of 622 schools and approximately 115,000 students will return to face-to-face to face learning under Level 3 restrictions for the last week of Term 3.

For more information on what Level 3 operations will look like for your work, please visit the Outer Greater Sydney page which is frequently updated.

Update: 9 September

The NSW government today announced that stay at home orders for parts of regional NSW will end at midnight on Friday 10 September.

The regional areas that will no longer be subject to stay at home orders can be viewed here on the NSW Health website and here on the Department of Education website.

For teachers in those areas no longer subject to stay at home orders, they will return to face-to-face teaching in Week 10 next week but under Level 3 operational conditions. Click here for more details about Level 3 restrictions.

All other LGAs in regional areas and Greater Sydney (outside of LGAs of concern) continue to be subject to stay at home orders and schools in these areas are operating at Level 4 restrictions.

Update: 5 September

Ventilation is an important COVID control measure.

Sydney Morning Herald has today reported on calls for a national school ventilation plan.

Over the past two months, Federation has consistently raised matters about ventilation in school and TAFE settings. 

Federation is concerned that ventilation as a significant COVID control measure when assessing risk is not being adequately addressed

Federation has called on the Department undertake, among other things:

  • an audit of all schools and TAFEs, across all settings, to assess their capacity to provide ventilation and clean air;
  • an identified program of regular inspection, maintenance and cleaning of ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems; and
  • an outline of remedies for those settings which cannot provide such environmentsand particulars as outlined above.

We have sought the provision of such reports and specifics before the end of Term 3 and certainly prior to any anticipated return to face-to-face teaching.

Update 27 August

Advice to members on today’s announcements regarding the return to school plan and other information can be found in the relevant FAQ sections.

Federation media comments:

  • Premier to reveal plan for students to return to school (ABC)
  • NSW unveils return to school plan. (ABC Radio)
  • Getting kids back into classrooms great in theory but a challenge in practice (MSN)
  • NSW school plan gets 'cautious' union plug (MSN/AAP)
  • NSW stops reporting COVID isolation status, case links (The New Daily)
  • 'Barriers to vaccination': teachers union concern at jab deadline (Newcastle Herald)
  • Back to school plan unveiled, vaccines mandatory for teachers (2GB Radio)
  • Hundreds of Sydney schools could remain closed despite back to school plan (SMH)

Update 26 August

Advice to members in areas of concern regarding updated Public Health Orders effective 30 August, Greater Sydney FAQs.

Regional lockdown extended until at least 10 September. Schools continue to operate under Level 4 restrictions:

Update 24 August

  • Stay at home restrictions apply to all of Greater Sydney including Blue Mountains and Wollongong until 30 September. Schools are operating at Level 4 unless they are in one of the identified areas of concern.
  • Additional restrictions apply to a number of identified areas of concern in Greater Sydney. Schools in these areas are operating at Level 4 plus.
  • Stay at home restrictions apply to all regional areas outside of Greater Sydney until at least 28 August. Schools are operating at Level 4.


Update 16 August

Following ongoing representations from the Federation, the Department has specifically advised schools to continue to employ additional casual staff to support the operations of the school, including where students are learning from home. Federation is monitoring ongoing casual and temporary teacher employment across NSW public schools via weekly updates from the Department. Schools have also been advised to continue to maintain their temporary staff engagements (Updated 14 August)

The Department has advised principals they must:

  • continue to spend the usual school budget for casual support as you would if no restrictions were in place
  • maintain any existing casual bookings made for Term 3
  • if you have already cancelled any Term 3 bookings, reinstate those bookings to ensure we continue to support our casual staff
  • continue to deliver the COVID Intensive Learning Support Program as planned.

Update 15 August 2021

Information relating to recent announcement via NSW Health link below:

Authorised worker priority appointments 

Update 14 August 2021

The NSW government has announced that all public schools and TAFEs will now operate under Level 4 restrictions as is currently the case for the Greater Sydney area, as defined by the Public Health Order.

This means that remote teaching and learning across the state will commence FOR ALL from Monday16 August for a period of at least one week until Saturday 21 August.

Federation advice and further information on Level 4 restrictions and operations can be found here

Federation continues to pursue the prioritisation of vaccinations for all teachers and staff however, in the meantime, the union strongly encourages all in the teaching service to seek advice from their GP and access a vaccination at the first available opportunity.

Stay safe and know that the Federation will always put the health and safety of our members, students and families they serve, first.

Update 13 August 2021

Vaccinations – the key to successfully managing our way out of the pandemic

Throughout the pandemic, every action of the NSW Teachers Federation has been informed by our responsibility to protect, as far as possible, the health and safety of our members and our school communities. Respectful of science and health advice, at all times we have insisted on the consistent applications of health advice and restrictions across ALL settings, including schools, in affected areas.

NSW Teachers Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos said noting the highly contagious, transmissible and dangerous Delta variant and the substantial risk posed to unvaccinated populations, the Federation recognises that vaccinations are key to successfully managing our way out of the pandemic.

Click here to read full release.

Update 11 August 2021

The NSW government announced this morning that stay-at-home rules will apply from 1pm 11 August - 12:01am 19 August in Dubbo.

Schools will be subject to Level 4 restrictions – please see advice here.

Federation media comments:

Update 10 August 2021

The following suburbs of Caddens, Claremont Meadows, Colyton, Erskine Park, Kemps Creek, Kingswood, Mt Vernon, North St Marys, Orchard Hills, Oxley Park, St Clair and St Marys in the Penrith LGA have been added to the list of areas of concern in Greater Sydney. For details on how schools in those areas are affected see COVID-19 advice to members - Greater Sydney.

The following regional areas are currently subject to the same restrictions as Greater Sydney, ie Level 4:

  • Hunter area including Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Port Stephens, Singleton, Dungog, Muswellbrook and Cessnock (from 5 August to 12 August at this stage)
  • Armidale LGA (from 6 August to 13 August)
  • Tamworth LGA (from 5pm 9 August to 17 August)
  • Northern Rivers area including Byron Shire, Richmond Valley, Lismore and Ballina LGAs (from 6pm 9 August to 17 August)

For further advice for all schools operating under Level 4 restrictions see COVID-19 advice to members - Schools subject to Level 4 Restrictions.

Schools in all other regional areas continue to operate at Level 2 restrictions.  For further advice on Level 2 restrictions see COVID-19 advice to members - Outside Greater Sydney.

Update 6 August 2021

We will always put the health and safety of our students, teachers and their families first.

The government has announced the revised plan for the return of HSC teachers and their students on August 16. The Department of Education advises the following in response:

  • No year 12 students or teachers will return to face to face teaching in the identified 8 LGAs of Blacktown, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Liverpool, and Parramatta.
  • High schools in Greater Sydney are asked to provide any and all trial examinations from home and where necessary, adjust their outstanding school assessment tasks to be completed from home.
  • From 16 August, all other high schools across Greater Sydney (including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour) will be able to bring Year 12 students back to school for essential curriculum and student wellbeing sessions only. These will operate under strict guidance of a COVID-safe plan.
  • Students will be limited in their access to schools for essential curriculum and wellbeing activity, where it is essential for the student to engage with the teaching or wellbeing staff or school facilities, and only individually or in small groups.
  • In the event that attendance is essential, students will not be permitted more than one session per day (2 hours) and not 5 days per week
  • HSC students living or learning in the 8 LGAs will not return to school yet.
  • HSC students from the 8 LGAs will also not return to school if they go to school outside those LGAs.
  • School assessments and completion of HSC exam preparation or trial exams are to be completed at home for all schools operating under Level 4 restrictions, that is all of Greater Sydney.
  • All students will have the opportunity to complete their HSC. Planning is underway to ensure that the final examinations can occur in a COVID-safe way.
  • NESA has provided details on the COVID special measures that schools can provide and will provide further advice on the impact of these changes on oral and performance examinations in Greater Sydney in the coming days.

All staff are strongly encouraged to access a vaccination at the first available opportunity. Staff are encouraged to talk to their GP about their vaccination options.


Update 5 August 2021

Today the NSW Teachers Federation and Independent Education Union of Australia NSW/ACT have released a joint statement in relation to the return of HSC students to face-to-face learning. Click below to read the statement.

Federation media comments:

Update 3 August 2021

Federation media comments:

Update 2 August 2021

Federation media comments:

Update 1 August 2021

Federation media comments:

Update 31 July 2020

Federation media comments:

Update 29 July 2021

Federation media comments:

Update 28 July 2021

Last night’s cabinet decision betrays, yet again, this government’s contempt for the teaching service. Such announcements through the media, without any prior consultation with the profession, highlights the disrespect for the work of teachers and principals and the complex operations of schools.

Political decisions made in the absence of acknowledgement of the obvious current health and safety consequences for all in our public school communities is astounding.

This government stands condemned for such actions.

The health and safety of all our members must come first. Health advice, the associated impacts of the Delta strain and current community transmission in the ‘national emergency’ currently occurring in NSW, must be assessed prior to decisions being made on the return to face-to-face teaching and learning.

Advice will be updated and shared as soon as it is available.

Federation media comments:

Update 23 July 2021

As we continue to update our advice to members daily on this blog, please contact the Federation if you need further information pertaining to your individual or school’s circumstance.

Federation continues to vigorously pursue, with government and the Department, the health and safety and associated working conditions of our members throughout the current pandemic.

For further information refer to the FAQ pages at the top of this page.

Update 18 July 2021

In response to the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation and Public Health Orders, we have updated our advice to members living in the Greater Sydney area. 

Consistent with the current Public Health ‘stay at home’ orders, all staff in schools across Greater Sydney must work from home.

Attendance of teachers onsite across Greater Sydney will only be required to meet the direct supervision of the number of students onsite.

For further information refer to  COVID-19 advice to members - Greater Sydney 

Update 14 July 2021

Federation is continually updating its advice for members in our FAQ sections of this blog. This includes advice for our casual teachers and information as the situation for our members evolves, including in relation to the new Public Health Orders and their associated impact.

The existing restrictions in NSW will be extended until at least July 30. For our schools and members this includes:

  • Continued remote learning for schools in Greater Sydney, including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour
  • Schools in regional NSW will remain on the current Level 2 restrictions including face-to-face teaching
  • Staff eligible for a priority vaccine who work in the LGAs of Fairfield, Liverpool and Canterbury/Bankstown will receive advice about how to book their vaccination before the end of the week
  • Further advice for those who live in the local government area of Fairfield is provided through the FAQs.

Update 13 July 2021

Federation media comments:

Update 9 July 2021

We understand and acknowledge that these are stressful and uncertain times. In an effort to provide our members with answers, we’ve created these COVID FAQ pages. Please refer to them for updates on the changing situation and on Federation’s position. As always, Federation is here to support you. The following links provide further information for members on guidelines, levels of school operations and various restrictions;

Advice from the department can be found here.

Further information

Update 8 July 2021

Federation media comments:

Update 7 July 2021

Federation notes that the Department has communicated with principals this morning advising further information will be forthcoming through the media at 11am when the Premier provides further details.

Federation is aghast at the continued and repeated disrespect shown for our workforce.

It has been widely reported in the media this morning that the current restrictions will remain in place across Greater Sydney for another week. Please note this also includes the Central Coast, Wollongong, and Shellharbour as they are all captured under the definition of Greater Sydney in the current Public Health Order.

Further, it has been reported schools in Greater Sydney will return to “online learning” from Tuesday and the Federation understands there is to be no face-to-face PL on Monday’s School Development Day. Staff may attend their work site if they need or want to.

Federation acknowledges the immediate and significant impact this will have on our teachers, principals and school operations.

Federation has and will continue to seek consistency in the application of restrictions, as per health advice, across ALL settings in affected LGA's/regions

The union will also continue to advocate for ALL teachers to be considered frontline workers for the purposes of vaccination prioritisation.

The health and safety of our members and school communities at large remains front and centre in all of our deliberations.

Further information will be made available to members as it comes to hand.

Federation media comments:

Update 6 July 2021

The health and safety of our members and school communities at large remains front and centre in all of our deliberations. Read what Federation Senior Vice President Amber Flohm had to say to the guardian in relation to teachers and vaccinations.

Australian teachers ask to be vaccinated as frontline workers amid Covid outbreaks

Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos told Sky News it is “critically important” teachers are prioritised when it comes to the vaccine rollout.

Watch the full interview here.

Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos speaks to the media:

Senior Vice President Amber Flohm speaks to the ABC:

Update 5 July 2021

A COVID briefing from the Department which had been scheduled today has been postponed.

Updates will be provided as information becomes available.

The health and safety of our members and school communities at large remains front and centre in all of our deliberations.

Update 24 June 2021

Unfortunately recent community transmission in NSW of Covid 19 will see our public schools close the term under further restrictions.

NSW Health has advised of new COVID-19 restrictions for the Greater Sydney region, which includes the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour local government areas from 4pm 23 June 2021 for one week. A map of where these restrictions apply is available on the NSW Government website.

Federation notes, with continued astonishment, that the government continues to declare that teachers and students in school settings are NOT required to wear masks. Teachers and/or students who wish to wear masks however, are of course free to do so and must be supported in that choice.

Masks continue to be mandatory on public transport for students over 12 and for teachers conducting excursions etc. as well as travelling to and from work.

For further information for teachers on Covid requirements in our schools and workplaces, including updated advice from NSW Health, Covid safe practices, vaccinations for teachers, travelling interstate, attendance at school and Covid Leave and Employment arrangements, please read the following

Federation sincerely hopes that all our members stay safe and are able to take a well earned break in the upcoming fortnight.

Update 16 April 2021

Federation has continued to pursue the interests of members regarding the roll out of the Covid 19 vaccine since August last year. This has included representations to the Federal Health Minister, NSW Minister for Education and alongside our colleagues at Unions NSW and the ACTU and AEU nationally.

While Federation understands and supports that the immediate government priority for the COVID-19 vaccinations is for workers in frontline health care, aged care, disability care, and quarantine and border facilities, the roll-out strategy’s identification of “critical and high-risk workers” must ensure that teachers and principals in schools be placed in the higher priority groups, given their critical role to societal functioning.

Teachers working in frontline priority health, disability care and correctional services must be afforded the same priority as those same workers in other environments. Our members in hospital schools, specialist settings and Education Training Units (ETU) etc must be aligned with those phases of the roll-out strategy.

Further, teachers must be identified as a priority group in the national roll-out of the vaccine given their collective exposure within the community each day and the need to protect our teachers and the ongoing essential service of public education for our students.

Last year, we saw the extraordinary disruption caused by school outbreaks and closures and the government’s insistence that public schools remain operating at great cost to our members, their families and the society more broadly.

To reduce the risk of such repeated occurrences and the associated impact on our members, consistent with the United Nations identification of teachers as “essential workers” and the Federal Government’s vaccination objectives, teachers must be elevated to phases where “critical and high risk” workers are situated.

Given our students under 18 are not recommended to receive the COVID vaccine in the current roll-out strategy, ensuring the health and safety of all our teachers, students and public school communities will be maximised by teachers being vaccinated as a priority.

Recent media by Federation on this matter can be seen here (1min 26seconds in).

Update 01 February 2021

As the situation in our schools regarding Covid 19 continues to evolve, Federation advises members that the following changes will come into effect as of today;

  • Teacher and community meetings outdoors can be increased from 30 to 50 adults in Greater Sydney. Meetings of adults indoors remains at 30.
  • In regional and rural settings outside of Greater Sydney, 50 adults indoors and 100 adults outdoors is permissible.
  • Restrictions on principals and teachers who live or work in Greater Sydney travelling to regional and/or remote areas, has now been lifted.

For further information, members can access

Federation draws its members attention to updated information regarding Term 1 Covid 19 Leave and Employment Arrangements.

Federation members should contact their organiser if they require further assistance through or (02) 9217 2100.

Federation continues to assure all members that their health and safety, and that of their public school community, is a paramount focus of the union.

Update 22 January 2021

This week the Department of Education advised schools of updates to its guidelines in relation to how schools will continue to operate from 2021.

The correspondence to principals, to be shared with all staff, addresses the current Covid 19 context in Greater Sydney and across NSW, in line with the latest NSW Health advice.

Among the changes are the following:

  • Limits on the gathering of adults inside and outside classroom and other learning spaces, outside of Staff Development Days and across NSW
  • Use of face masks in schools – not required for staff or students but members are free to wear them if they wish
  • Face masks required for teachers and students travelling on public transport and in other areas, consistent with the current Public Health Order
  • Changes to professional learning arrangements with teachers from local networks now able to gather with limits and social distancing
  • Swimming and other sporting and events can proceed with Covid Safe Plans in place
  • Parental and external visitors to school sites and the issuing of QR codes for schools

For further details on this and other information provided, members can access on the Department’s portal.

Federation members should contact their organiser if they require further assistance.

Update 5 November 2020

The Department has released further guidelines this morning in relation to the continued easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

Some of these changes apply from next week while others will not come into place until the conclusion of the HSC on 12 November.

As a result of our interventions, the number of inconsistencies and volume of confusing information has been significantly reduced, (NOTE deletion of phrase) but the impact on school organisation, activities and associated workload for our principals and teachers has not.

The latest information joins a long list of guidelines members have been expected to implement throughout 2020.

The Department has requested that the information be made available to all staff. Members seeking further information or support should contact their Organiser or Professional Support.

Update 4 September 2020

Federation members are advised of the following further changes to NSW Victorian border arrangements affecting our principals, teachers, students and public schools.

Federation is aware of the significant impact that these arrangements and constant changes to such are having on our members and schools. We advise you to check the new single border region and how, if any, changes to your current situation for attending your school or providing continuing education for your students will be addressed.

Should you require further advice, please contact Federation on 9217 2100, via your organiser or through

Update 17 August 2020

This morning the Department sent to principals new guidelines with additional safety measures in schools on the advice of NSW Health. This information was sent with a request to distribute to all teachers and other staff in schools.

These changes go to a number of areas affecting members including:

  • Returning to school for teachers and students following illness
  • Practical advice for sport and physical activities
  • Physical distancing among adults
  • Student gatherings and movement
  • Professional Learning activities
  • Community use and visitors guidelines, including P & Cs and SRE
  • Updated infection control procedures, particularly in relation to Creative Arts
  • Restrictions due to border arrangements with Victoria

Federation continues to assert, consistent with Department of Premier & Cabinet Circular C2020-01 Employment Arrangements during Covid 19, that if teachers are not unwell and are required to isolate, working from home arrangements must be put in place.

‘Where an employee is not sick but is directed not to attend the workplace due to isolation requirements, agencies should identify options for employees to work from home during the quarantine period. Where work is unable to be provided to these employees, they are to be paid as normal and are placed on paid special leave for up to 20 days.’

Federation draws its members attention to the COVID-19 Leave and Employment Arrangements updated this morning on the Department’s website.

Should you require further advice, please contact Federation and know that we will continue to monitor developments and advise members as appropriate.

Update 10 August 2020

Schools currently affected by the Victoria to NSW border conditions

Code - School

8101 - Albury High School
3922 - Albury North Public School
1017 - Albury Public School
1019 - Albury West Public School
8461 - Barham High School
1135 - Barham Public School
1139 - Barrooga Public School
1207 - Berrigan Public School
8503 - Billabong High School
8486 - Bombala High School
1288 - Bombala Public School
1688 - Buronga Public School
8494 - Coomealla High School
8308 - Corowa High School
1659 - Corowa South Public School
1658 - Corowa Public School
1732 - Dareton Public School
1745 - Delegate Public School
8218 - Deniliquin High School
4281 - Deniliquin North Public School
4112 - Deniliquin South Public School
8487 - Eden Marine High School
1885 - Euston Public School
8360 - Finley High School
4468 - Glenroy Public School
2027 - Gol Gol Public School
2170 - Holbrook Public School
2186 - Howlong Public School
4407 - Hume Public School
8266 - James Fallon High School
2239 - Jindera Public School
5744 - Kandeer School
4270 - Khancoban Public School
2378 - Lavington Public School
4168 - Lavington East Public School
2500 - Mathoura Public School
2584 - Moama Public School
2632 - Moulamein Public School
2667 - Mulwala Public School


Update 10 August 2020

Federation continues to focus on member’s health and safety at work during the current pandemic.

Pursuing industrial matters, such as leave and working from home entitlements, daily impacts on our members in isolation, on ever changing border and quarantine requirements, as well as the associated effects such as workload and wellbeing are central to Federation’s daily representations and work.

Federation has secured through its advocacy that the latest links to the most up to date information and advice from NSW Health be placed on every public school’s website by the Department. This has been in place since the beginning of Term 3.

This will allow our members, parents and carers to keep abreast of the frequent changes impacting on our school communities and seeks to minimise the risks associated with public school worksites for our principals, teachers and students.

The link on each school site is below:

Federation draws your attention to the latest advice below regarding local ‘hotspots’ and the new border restrictions arrangements in NSW and the impact on schools, teachers and students.

Increased testing and surveillance

With the growing number of cases in the area, NSW Health is again asking all people who live in, or have visited, the following locations and local government areas (LGAs) in the past two weeks to get tested if they have even the mildest of COVID-19 symptoms such as a runny nose or scratchy throat.

  • Bankstown City Plaza
  • Bankstown LGA
  • Bonnyrigg
  • Cabramatta
  • Campbelltown LGA
  • Carnes Hill shops
  • Cumberland LGA
  • Fairfield LGA
  • Liverpool LGA
  • Mt Pritchard
  • Parramatta LGA
  • Perisher
  • Potts Point area
  • Prestons
  • Wetherill Park

Tightened NSW-Victoria border restrictions

The amended Public Health Order changes will have an impact on students and staff travelling across the NSW-Victorian border.

From 7 August, the border restrictions will be tightened further with the Victorian border zone defined to townships along the Murray River including Mildura, Wodonga and Echuca.

Under the amended Public Health Order, any person who already has a valid day school visitor permit will continue to be able to use this permit for 14 days, until midnight on Friday 21 August. This permit will expire after Friday 21 August.

From Friday 21 August, for people living outside the border zone in Victoria, permits will only be considered for the following persons:

  • Students who attend special purpose schools. Students attending a School for Specific Purposes will be eligible for a special permit through the NSW Government website.
  • HSC students and HSC teachers. Further information regarding the exemption process for HSC students and teachers will be provided next week.

Schools impacted by these changes have been sent further information over the weekend.

Should you require further advice, please contact Federation and know that we will continue to monitor developments and advise members as appropriate.

Update 22 July 2020

In line with current NSW Health and Department of Education advice and guidelines relating to COVID, Federation is suspending our face-to-face training program in term 3.

Federation’s focus on members’ health and safety continues to be paramount and we will continue to deliver an online program of training until such time as we can safely deliver face-to-face professional learning activities.

Federation currently offers a number of one-hour online webinars (registered PL with NESA) for our members and information about these can be found online with applications via

If you have queries about our current training program please contact or call

Update 17 July 2020

This morning the Department emailed all principals advising of updates for the commencement of term 3. This information is to be shared with all teachers.

Federation advises members to read through all the factsheets provided to ensure that they are familiar with these new guidelines and the way in which these changes will affect you, both individually and as a school community.

Federation notes that these changes will affect all our members in all public schools and the timing of such communication is unacceptable, landing in inboxes on the last day of the term break.

Federation’s focus on members’ health and safety continues to be paramount and draws your attention to explicit information relating to physical distancing among principals, teachers and other staff in schools, including:

  • maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from all other adults at all times
  • do not shake hands or hug to greet colleagues or visitors to the workplace
  • minimise the number of adults in an area or classroom at any one time to only those that are required to be there
  • where possible conduct discussions outside and use alternate methods of communication sucha as phone calls and virtual technology for essential meetings and discussions
  • do not host meetings with large numbers of staff.  When larger numbers are required to gather, use outdoor locations or large rooms where a distance of 1.5 metres between staff can be maintained and limit meeting times to less than one hour
  • continue to use staff rooms with measures put in place to minimise the number of staff within the room at any one time to maintain physical distancing
  • maintain the minimum distance of 1.5 metres from other staff when supervising sport and physical activities in schools
  • maintain the minimum distance of 1.5m from other staff while on playground duty.

Should you require further advice, please contact Federation and know that we will continue to monitor developments and advise members as appropriate.

Update 13 July 2020

NSW Health are urging anyone who visited the Crossroads Hotel, Casula on the evening of Friday 3 July to immediately self-isolate, come forward for testing and monitor for symptoms. Find you nearest clinic here:

For more information visit:

Update 15 June 2020

Free Flu vaccine for all public school teachers

In response to member representations, Federation pursued with the Department access to free flu vaccinations, where they were not already available, and teachers wished to take up the offer.

Federation is pleased to advise that this positive outcome was communicated to all teachers on Friday, 12 June.

Deputy Secretary, People and System Performance wrote to Federation stating: “Thank you for your correspondence to the Secretary of 8 May, 2020, regarding influenza vaccinations for school staff … As such, I am pleased to inform you that the Department will be providing all permanent and temporary staff with the opportunity to seek reimbursement for the cost of the influenza vaccine where they are not eligible for free vaccination.”

Federation urges all members who wish to participate in this program, do so before June 30 and seek reimbursement for the cost of the flu vaccine.

Update 20 May 2020

COVID-19 – Coronavirus advice for Federation members in schools No.3

Update 18 May 2020

Federation members have done a phenomenal job of adapting how they deliver lessons during COVID-19 pandemic.

You have turned yourselves inside out and gone over and above the call of duty, to provide some level of educational continuity to all your students.

From Monday, we enter a new phase and we acknowledge and recognise that this will bring further uncertainty and concerns.

Members must continue to follow the advice issued to schools regarding physical distancing, promoting and encouraging good hygiene practices for all and ensuring that the enhanced cleaning measures are being implemented in your workplaces.

We recognise the challenges facing members as a result of the changing operating models and we are pursuing these matters with the department including monitoring and reviewing workload, assessment and reporting requirements and ensuring that the enhanced cleaning measures committed to by the department are being implemented in your workplaces.

In all of our actions and deliberations we have been motivated by one thing; ensuring as best we can to protect the health and safety of students, teachers and principals; all members of our school communities.

Advice - AHPPC guidelines NSW schools

Update 06 May 2020

Email correspondence from the Department to principals about staff arrangements from 11 May caused considerable confusion and concern this morning.

Arising from representations, the following clarification has been provided by the Department.

“Further to the advice I provided to Principals and staff last night as it relates to the return of the workforce from May 11 2020, the Department continues to support the implementation of flexible workplace rosters, in line with the staggered return of students, to enable both on and off campus learning continuity.

In this next phase of return to on campus learning, and until further notice, we must continue to practise distancing and as such staff who are not required to be on site can be supported by continuing flexible off site arrangements to undertake their duties.

I trust this information assists with the timetables and rosters that you have worked so diligently to establish for commencement on May 11 2020.”


Update 25 April 2020

The Premier’s student-return-to-school model introduces a profound inequity in HSC preparation. 

Click here to read more from the Sydney Morning Herald.

Update: 22 April 2020

Since early March, Federation has been pursuing with the Department access for casual and temporary teachers to both short and long-term employment to ensure the impact to your livelihoods is minimised.

Following the email sent to members yesterday a special update has now been sent to all school based casual and temporary members.

The package announced yesterday includes:

• a minimum guaranteed weekly engagement for eligible casual teachers
• engaging eligible casual teachers for three days in the first two weeks of term 2 to induct them into remote learning methods
• extending temporary engagements that were due to expire at the end of term 1 into term 2.

Update: 22 April 2020

Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos spoke this morning on Nine's The Today Show in response to yesterday’s announcement from the premier. What we got fails to appreciate, let alone comprehend, the massive organisational and timetabling challenges it presents for our schools”.

Click here to view video.

Angelo Gavrielatos reported to the Sydney Morning Herald that the government's approach "fails to comprehend the massive organisational and timetabling demands it places on schools".

Update: 21 April 2020

An email was sent at approximately 11am to members with further update on the COVID-19 crisis.

The Premier’s return to school model fails to comprehend the massive organisational and timetabling demands it places on schools.
Angelo Gavrielatos

Throughout this crisis, in all of our actions and deliberations we have been motivated by one thing; ensuring as best we can to protect the health and safety of students, teachers and principals, all members of our school communities.

It is clear, at the right time, when the restrictions on gatherings and movement are eased, a staggered, orderly return to schools in a manner that satisfies Australian Health Protection Principal Committee advice and requirements on social distancing (including 1.5m physical distancing in open spaces and 4sqm per person in enclosed spaces), sanitation and environmental cleaning will be required.

It is also clear that whatever the model of student return looks like in these unprecedented times, it will bring with it serious logistical challenges. However, some models are potentially far more challenging, and of higher risk, if not impossible, to implement.

Federation proposed a staggered, orderly return initially with one year group in each secondary and primary settings respectively starting with year 12 and Kindergarten*. Kindy because our students just barely got to school when their journey at such a difficult transition in their young lives came to an abrupt halt.

Year 12 because of our deep concern for our students and the need for a meaningful, sustained commitment to their studies and support for them (and their parents) knowing that privileged communities with social, emotional and technological capital will do well in the high-tech, online environment.

When appropriate, we could then add one year per setting, for example year 6 and year 7, slowly padding out our schools over time, mindful of our primary concern; the health and safety of our students, teachers and principals; our entire school communities.

The Premier has announced a return to school model aimed at providing an opportunity for all students to physically attend school one day per week on a rostered rotation.

The only plausible argument advanced in relation to this model relates to the social emotional wellbeing of children, understanding that they could benefit from some physical contact (social distancing protocols applied) with their mates. We get that. We know what that means as educators and as parents. However, that’s where it ends. Assessing this model logistically and on all other criteria offered by the Premier, it fails.

It fails:

  1. the educational criterion test, as it provides only a minimum of up to 3-4 hours of face-to-face “teaching“ to any student on site noting that distance learning systems are in place
  2. the health and safety-first test by exposing young people (even at 20-25 per cent of students) and a significantly larger proportion of school staff to possible cross-infection for this minimal level of face-to-face educational benefit on site. It also ignores that tens of thousands of students will be criss-crossing suburbs on public transport each morning and afternoon along with thousands of parents leaving their homes doing school drop-offs and pick-ups
  3. the parental test, as it does not free parents from any pressure by merely having one of their children dunked into school on an irregular pattern
  4. the economic capacity test, as this rostering system does not and cannot free parents to engage in work on a sustained basis. This, as with the “parental test” above, is complicated by the number of children in each household
  5. the school-organisation and teacher workload test, as it fails to comprehend the massive organisational and timetabling demands it places on schools and the compounding impact on teachers’ workload in delivering online and face-to-face teaching in addition to other responsibilities such lesson preparation, producing hard copy versions for students without the necessary technology, professional learning, etc. It is widely accepted that teachers worked at unprecedented levels in the last three weeks of term 1. This model will only add to this unmanageable and unsustainable workload.

The Premier’s announcement will not be well received. Noting the multitude of contradictions that remain unanswered with respect to the application of social distancing requirements in schools when compared with the general public, today’s announcement will be viewed with deep scepticism and resentment by teachers and principals, and it will contribute to the continued bewilderment of parents.

*(We are acutely aware of the fact that there are many different settings across our system where alternative approaches would need to be applied.)

Update: 18 April 2020

Teachers and principals continue to struggle under the weight of contradictory advice and information. Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos spoke this morning on Weekend Today about the concerns that continue to be raised by our members.

Update: 17 April 2020

Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos has written an opinion piece that has today been published by various news outlets. You can read it below.

Teachers and principals have done a phenomenal job of adapting how they deliver lessons during COVID-19 pandemic.

They turned themselves inside out, over and above the call of duty, to provide some level of educational continuity to all their students.

Regrettably, we've not been helped during this pandemic by contradictory commentary with respect to health advice.

We are told on one hand, that it's not safe for children to be in public playgrounds and shopping malls yet, apparently, it's okay for them to be in a school playground or in a school classroom.

We're told it's not safe for children to be looked after and cared for by grandparents, yet it's okay for them to be taught by the teachers many of whom may also be grandparents.

Whilst strict restrictions to gatherings and movement have been introduced for the general public, it is next to impossible to practice social distancing in our schools which range in size from 12 to 2,000 students, 2 to over 200 staff.

On April 27 our schools will not be closed, they will continue to operate as they operated at the end of term one - they will continue to operate in that fashion for the first few weeks of term 2.

When it is safe, as restrictions on movement and gatherings are eased, what will be required is a staged and orderly return to schools with a much smaller number of students and teachers initially on school sites in order to ensure that we can practice social distancing. As it becomes safer, and only then, student and staff numbers on school sites will increase.

In all of our actions and deliberations we have been motivated by one thing; ensuring as best we can to protect the health and safety of students, teachers and principals; all members of our school communities.

Our health and safety must come first.

Angelo Gavrielatos, President

Update: 15 April 2020

Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos spoke to the media today in response to recent comments made by the Prime Minister.

Watch Angelo's interiew with Sky News here.

Update: 9 April 2020

An email has been sent to Federation members with information regarding COVID-19. 

If you have not been receiving emails from Federation make sure your contact details are up to date. For information or advice specific to your circumstances, contact Federation on 1300 654 369 or

Please note, Federation Representatives MUST register directly with Federation. Please email, telephone 02 9217 2199 or your regional Federation office as soon as possible if you are yet to notify us. The deadline for advising the Federation has been extended to the end of Week 1 of Term 2 (Friday 1 May 2020).

Update: 8 April 2020

Governments must improve COVID-19 communications to CALD communities

Federation has joined with several community groups appealing for governments to effectively report COVID-19 directives to people with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds.

“Information is not reaching into many CALD communities in a way that actively engages the communities and individuals to enable them to fully understand what is required of them now and into the coming weeks of the COVID-19 response nationally,” letters sent to federal, state and territory health ministers state.

“It is particularly clear that messages about behaviour change and social isolation are not getting through to CALD communities, leaving them vulnerable as community transmission of the virus begins to climb,” noted Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria chairperson Eddie Micallef, Settlement Service International chief executive officer Violet Roumeliotis, Migration Institute of Australia chair John Hourigan, National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters’ Council executive officer Russell Anderson, HOST International chief executive officer David Keegan and Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos.


Update: 4 April 2020

Am I required to teach both face to face and online?

No. There is “one unit” of work that is provided to the students who attend their local school and also those at home. That is, what is provided to students at home is duplicated under the minimal supervision arrangements at schools.

For information or advice specific to your school's circumstances, contact Federation on 1300 654 369 or




Update: 2 April 2020

Do I need to sign a contract or other such documentation around the work I will undertake during flexible work arrangements?

No. There is no requirement for any teacher to sign such documents and they cannot be a requirement for working from home. Teachers are professionals and must be given the trust and respect to operate accordingly. Any such documents must be withdrawn.

Please contact your Federation Organiser if this is occurring in your workplace.

Teachers can, however, complete and sign the Alternate Workplace Environmental Checklist provided by Work Health and Safety.


Update: 1 April 2020

What should casual teachers do if booked work has been cancelled this term?

If you are a casual teacher who has had bookings cancelled and not reinstated, please call us. We will pursue this directly with the employer.

Similarly, if you are a temporary teacher who has had your engagement shortened or terminated, please contact Federation – we will pursue this directly with the employer.

Federation has successfully secured the reinstatement of casual and temporary employment for members.


Update: 31 March 2020

Should casual teachers continue to be engaged by schools?

The answer is YES! Following Federation representations, the Department of Education has said casual teachers will continue to be engaged to support the operations of schools as they normally would.

Principals have been advised that casual teachers will continue to replace colleagues on sick, FACS, special and carers leave, etc. Casual teachers can also undertake flexible working arrangements if required.

If any days you had been booked for the remainder of the term have been cancelled, you should contact the school that booked you so that you can be rebooked. Principals have been given clear advice to undertake this action.


Update: 30 March 2020

Federation has produced updated advice for members in relation to COVID-19. 

Update: 27 March 2020

Federation continues to pursue an orderly transition to an emergency mode of school operation where rostered minimum supervision would be provided to support essential frontline service workers, who are unable to care for their children, and vulnerable students with systems in place to provide maximum health protection for all present on sites.

Staff not rostered on minimal supervision, work from home providing educational continuity as far as is practicable for students online.

Noting that the latest school attendance figures show a statewide average of less than 10 per cent and as low as 3 to 5 per cent in many areas, we have effectively commenced that transition.

The Department has “made it clear that our schools should create as much flexibility as possible by creating workable rosters for their staff at a time in which there is only a small number of students on site in our schools”, and that schools should “come up with appropriate rosters for your setting to allow some staff to work from home.

“The arrangements for staff in high-risk categories working from home is to continue unaltered.”

The Department has made it clear that “anyone who's in a high-risk category, including staff who are pregnant, should be working from home now. No questions about that.”

Federation continues to advocate on behalf of temporary and casual teachers who could be severely affected by this crisis in the event of widespread and prolonged disruption.

As a result of these efforts, the Secretary has issued advice to principals stating: “If there is a staff member who is sick at home and is not able to work, then [principals] should employ casuals to replace that person … to support the teaching and learning effort that has been driven out of the school at the moment. And similarly with temps as well.”

We realise these are challenging times. You can rest assured that Federation will continue advance the interest of all members. Together will get through this crisis. Please stay safe.

Update: 25 March 2020

Federation Executive met this morning at 9 am and unanimously resolved that normal school operations must end to put the health and safety of students and staff first.

It is now essential that an immediate transition to an emergency mode of school operation be put in place with minimum staffing (to support essential frontline services workers who are unable to care for their children during this crisis) and necessary systems to provide maximum health protection for all present on sites.

Staff not rostered on minimal supervision are to work from home providing educational continuity as far as is practicable for students online during term time. The arrangements for staff in high-risk categories working from home are to continue unaltered.

To facilitate this transition, from the week beginning 30 March, schools must be declared pupil free for all students, except the children of essential frontline services workers who are unable to care for their children and vulnerable children.

We note that normal operations of TAFE have been suspended from 30 March until 27 April. An urgent meeting has been sought with the NSW Premier.

Media release: Normal school operations must end to put the health and safety of students and staff first

Update: 23 March 2020

Media release: Teachers and principals are not dispensable

Update: 23 March 2020

Federation has called an emergency meeting of our state executive at 12pm. A meeting has been secured with the Minister at 4pm today.

Update: 23 March 2020

Teachers have been thrust onto the frontline of this crisis.

The Premier has failed to provide any reassurance for our public school teachers and principals.

The Premier has failed to issue clear and unequivocal advice in relation to school closures. What we have now is a recipe for chaos.

Encouraging parents and caregivers to choose whether their children attend school or not fails to offer any assurances or provide any certainty. The Premier has created a moral dilemma for parents.

If clarity was given then plans could be made to transition our schools for the provision of minimal supervision for the children of essential services workers.

Federation continues to seek an urgent meeting with the Minister.

Update: 23 March 2020

Teachers and principals are not dispensable. An urgent meeting is being sought with the NSW Minister.

Answers are needed.

As of midday yesterday, plans were being enacted to wind back school operations. Described as the UK model, schools were to remain open with appropriate levels of supervision for children of essential workers.

In the UK, schools are being kept as empty as possible. Flexible arrangements are in place for school staff to ensure effective minimum supervision and the further ongoing development of online educational material for students not at schools.

Last night the Prime Minister declared schools would remain open while shutting down all social gatherings because of the crisis.

These decisions are being made by people who have no idea how our schools function or what is happening inside them. The reasoning offered just doesn’t stack up.

We are told that social distancing protocols should be observed in all other places not affected by the shutdown. The social distancing protocol of 4m2 per person is impossible to implement in classrooms, corridors and most school playgrounds.

We are told children are low risk vectors for the virus at school but suddenly become high risk vectors in shopping centres and playgrounds also ignoring the fact the tens of thousands are travelling on trains and buses each morning and afternoon.

We are told there is concern about kids infecting grandparents but not teachers, many of whom are also grandparents? We are told there is concern for vulnerable, high risk groups but not teachers in this category.

The contradictions and hypocrisy must end.

Update: 20 March 2020

AEU to meet with Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan about COVID-19 concerns. Click here to read the full media release.

Update: 19 March 2020

Click here to read the AEU’s letter sent today to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the National Cabinet.

Update: 19 March 2020

Federation continues to engage on an hourly basis with the Department of Education on behalf of members.

We continue to pursue issues including, but not limited to, the following:

  • WH&S matters including:

- sanitation
- social distancing
- urgent risk assessments for vulnerable settings such as SSPs

  • leave entitlements and leave arrangements (special leave, sick leave, FACs leave etc) for all permanent, temporary and casual teachers
  • matters specifically affecting casual teachers, day-to-day work and long-term arrangements 
  • working arrangements for teachers who have chronic illnesses, are immunocompromised or fall into high-risk categories. This includes pregnant staff
  • addressing family circumstances of teachers who are also carers of those with chronic illnesses and immunocompromised
  • day-to-day organisational matters in schools including staff/parent teacher/interschool/regional meetings, PL events etc
  • workload matters including the provision of online materials and meeting needs of students who are isolated
  • non-school based officer arrangements and external providers in schools
  • maintenance of accreditation and associated matters such as extensions and completion of teacher qualifications.

Federation will provide a further update for members on Friday afternoon as the situation develops.

Update: 18 March 2020

Federation Senior Officers continue to be in discussions with the Department of Education and other stakeholders in response to this morning’s announcements made by the Prime Minister.

These are unprecedented times.

Due to a high volume of calls we know that wait times on our Professional Support services (phone and email) have been longer than usual. In response to this we have allocated additional resources to be able to speak and provide advice to as many members as possible.

We are listening to and reading all of your correspondence and will continue to advocate for appropriate support to be provided to members across a range of issues including Work Health and Safety, pay and leave arrangements for casual, temporary and permanent teachers in all circumstances in all public education settings.

Federation will continue to provide updates and advice to members.

Update: 18 March 2020

The Department of Education and Department of Health have issued advice to minimise cross-school contact, where possible, and limit visitors from outside the school community.

In response to this, a number of Association executives have made the decision to postpone Association meetings until later in the year. In consultation with Federation Representatives and school communities, Federation Officers have also made the decision to not physically attend meetings in workplaces to prevent exposing members to unnecessary contact and its inherent risk.

This decision was not made lightly. However, Federation Officers travel across multiple sites each day and interact in close contact with a large number of members in many schools. It was raised that this could pose a risk to members and school communities.

Federation Officers remain on duty throughout this time and continue to be available to support members in schools, Associations, and individuals remotely. Members wishing to discuss the practicalities of remote support should contact their Federation Organiser through normal procedures. Federation Workplace Committees may still call and hold a meeting in the usual way if they wish to — and an Organiser may join the meeting by phone or other means where possible.

Rest assured, the union remains committed to supporting Federation Representatives, and the broader membership, during this time.

Update: 17 March 2020

Federation has assessed the ability of all members in schools and TAFE workplaces to implement the social distancing measures as advised by the NSW Department of Health and the Department of Education. 

It is now clear that the Government is not meeting its work, health and safety obligations to all staff and students.

Federation is demanding that if schools remain open, principals and teachers must be given clear advice on what they are to do when the required health protocols cannot be implemented.

Federation continues to work to protect the safety and industrial rights of every member in every classroom.

Should you be unable to implement the NSW Department of Health advice necessary for the maintenance of a safe workplace, please make an immediate report to the WHS Incident and Injury Notification Hotline by calling 1800 811 523 or emailing

For additional information, you can read the media release sent by Federation this morning.

Update: 16 March 2020

Federation remains in regular contact with the Department of Education. We continue to make representations on behalf of members. Concerns expressed are communicated with the Department of Health who are providing advice as necessary.

Click here to read the latest advice from the NSW Chief Health Officer regarding school closures.

Federation will continue to provide advice to members as the situation develops.

Update: 13 March 2020

We must all act in accordance with advice from the NSW Department of Health and the Department of Education

Federation’s Senior Officers have been in regular contact with the Department of Education over the past month regarding this issue and are continuing to monitor the situation.

In particular, we are working closely with the Department to ensure the health, employment and industrial needs and rights of all members (permanent, temporary and casual) in schools and TAFE are being met. A statement to this effect was posted on our social media sites on Friday, 6 March, following the temporary closure of Epping Boys High School.

The Department has confirmed that permanent, temporary and day-to-day casuals engaged/offered work during a school shut down period and/or directed to self-isolate will be paid for that period of closure.

The payment of casual workers is being addressed by all unions at a whole of Government level and Federation is keeping abreast of these developments. Federation continues to pursue concerns regarding day-to-day casuals, who may not have been engaged/offered work during a shutdown/self-isolation period, should the crisis escalate and affect employment opportunities.

Federation understands that this situation is particularly difficult for our teachers who do not have secure employment.

Federation continues to work with the Department on matters, including, but not limited to, the following:

• addressing rising racism in schools among, students, parents and broader community
• extending the census date for actual enrolments
• ensuring advice is provided in relevant community languages
• clarifying regional travel restrictions for non-school based members
• addressing the opportunism of private providers of professional learning and technology in this context
• pursuing individual teacher and school matters as they have arisen.

Federation notes that the Department has provided the union with the most up-to-date information, at times hourly, on processes the Department is undertaking in conjunction with NSW Health, including detailed reports of operational and system matters as they have developed.

Federation will continue to monitor developments and advise members as appropriate.

Related news

  • Click here for all the latest COVID-19 news from Federation.

Media releases

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