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Choirs, formals, graduation ceremonies banned from NSW schools

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Formals, dances, graduation ceremonies, choirs and all social events have been banned in NSW government schools in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus.

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A string of school closures, the latest being Sydney Girls High on Monday, has prompted the NSW Education department to announce new COVID-safe rules.

From Wednesday all public schools in the state will be required to adopt the changes to ensure communities remain safe inside and outside the school gate, said an education department statement issued on Monday.

Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 is prohibited from returning to school until a negative test result has been reported.

Under additional measures for term three:

* 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

* Interschool 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 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, graduations 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.

However 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 utilise a COVID-19 safety plan and encourage strict compliance.

The new restrictions are in addition to existing health advice for schools, including maintaining good hand hygiene, physical distancing for adults and the banning of non-essential school visitors.

-AAP

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