Back to school 2022

For information and support for parents and carers in relation to COVID-19 and returning to school, read the COVID-19 information for parents and carers.

National approach

The Northern Territory’s (NT) back-to-school plan is aligned to the national approach underpinned by the following six principles:

  • Schools are first to open and last to close. Face-to-face learning is a priority
  • COVID-safe behaviours will be practiced at all times
  • No vulnerable child or child of an essential worker will be turned away
  • Managing COVID-19 cases will be informed by public health advice
  • Schools and early childhood services will be equipped with public health advice
  • The health and wellbeing of our children and staff is our top priority.

This plan is in place for the first four weeks of Term 1, 2022. We will continue to evaluate and ask for feedback on how COVID-19 is being managed.

Back to school

To keep Territory kids safe at school, a range of measures have been introduced in NT Government schools.

These measures will help to reduce the risk of COVID-19 and keep children and young people at school learning as much as possible. View the Department of Education’s Term 1 2022 back-to-school plan PDF (164.9 KB).

You can read more about COVID-19 hygiene and safety measures introduced in Territory schools PDF (125.8 KB).

Attendance – why it matters

The Department of Education is committed to engaging with all students, families and communities to ensure all children are attending school every day.

Attendance really does matter. One or two days might not seem like much, but if your child misses one day per week, over their entire 13 years of schooling they will miss a total of 2.5 years.

Skipping school two days a week equates to 5 years of education lost. This has huge impacts on student’s long-term educational outcomes – every day matters.

Recent statistics have shown a decrease in enrolment in government schools. While there is COVID-19 and influenza in the community, there is a risk that your child will catch it at home, in the public spaces or at school. Face-to-face learning remains the most effective and preferred option to support children to be their best.

We acknowledge that some families may be nervous about sending their child to school.  Please take the time to speak with your school, if you or your child have concerns.

Attendance campaign

Mask wearing

Students in Years 7 to 12 are required to wear a mask indoors when they can’t physically distance, when a mask mandate is in place, in line with Chief Health Officer Directions.

Students from Year 3 in primary school are strongly encouraged to wear masks while indoors at school when a mask mandate is in place.

COVID positive cases in schools

All people including school staff and students who test positive for COVID-19 are required to undertake at least seven days isolation. Schools will have a COVID Safety Supervisor who will manage positive cases while on school grounds, as well as notifying families, carers and the community.

Find out what you should do if you tested positive for COVID-19.

Close contacts in schools

Under CHO direction 22 PDF (380.4 KB), parents and guardians who are household close contacts and asymptomatic, are able to drop their child/ren to school or childcare.

If their child/ren is in transition or preschool, these parents and guardians are able to walk their child into the classroom, provided they meet the above requirements.

Primary school, preschool childcare

Children with any COVID-19 symptoms or who are unwell should not attend school, preschool or childcare.

Children who are a close contact and have no symptoms of COVID-19 can continue to attend school, preschool and childcare as normal. They are not required to get tested unless they have symptoms.

Middle school and senior school

Students in middle school or senior school who have COVID-19 symptoms or who are unwell should not attend school.

Students in middle school or senior school who are a close contact and have no symptoms can continue to attend school if they have a negative Rapid Antigen Test before attending school for the week.

Parents and carers will be notified of any positive cases in the school and if students are a close contact. Students will be provided with Rapid Antigen Tests for the week at school.

School staff and childcare workers

School staff and childcare workers who are essential workers and a close contact can attend work if they have:

  • no symptoms
  • a negative Rapid Antigen Test result each day before attending work, for the week.

COVID-19 testing for school staff

Remote school staff will be provided with three Rapid Antigen Tests for the week they return to community and will be required to undertake testing on the day they will be entering the community prior to leaving, and again on days 3 and 6.

From the beginning of term, all government school staff will be provided with three Rapid Antigen Tests a week to use as required and as an extra precaution.


Last updated: 20 July 2022

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