King’s School, Parramatta: Elite private boys’ school avoids mask guidelines

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An elite school in Sydney is avoiding mask-wearing guidelines – and she says the government is giving conflicting advice.

An elite private boys’ school in Sydney has decided to ignore government guidelines requiring high school students to wear masks indoors.

The exclusive King’s School in Parramatta will not require its students to wear face coverings, giving all students the choice of whether or not to wear masks indoors.

The school told news.com.au that the NSW Department of Education directive on wearing the mask contradicted state public health orders.

When asked if the majority of parents of King’s boys support the directive from school principal Tony George, the school said it had not been inundated with complaints.

In a letter to Mr George’s parents obtained by news.com.au, the principal said the school followed government public health orders rather than Department of Education guidelines, and that the differences between both had caused “confusion”.

NSW Education’s mask guidelines apply to both public and Catholic schools across the state and “strongly recommend” elementary students to wear face masks as well.

The majority of independent schools have decided to follow the guidelines, but Mr George said King’s will give his students a choice, arguing that public health orders do not require them to wear face coverings.

“It is important to note that the guidelines from the NSW Department of Education are primarily intended for public schools in NSW,” Mr. George wrote in his letter.

“The King’s School takes seriously all advice and guidance provided by all relevant authorities… it is the public health ordinances that provide the express direction to independent schools.

“It is these ordinances that inform the school in fulfilling its responsibility to develop a back-to-school roadmap for our school in the context of our diverse geographic footprint, educational programs and our major boarding school operations.

“There are various sources of additional information providing advice on how schools should

respond to current circumstances and to this obligation.

“These are published by other bodies including the Association of Independent Schools NSW, the Departments of Education and Health and the regularly updated NSW Government Roadmap to Relax Covid Restrictions -19.

“The information is provided for a wide range of schools and school systems,

especially the public school sector, which has given rise to conflicting opinions and

degree of confusion.

King’s School has 2,100 K-12 students and around 430 boarders, making it one of the largest boarding schools in Australia.

Mr George said that while King’s had a legal obligation to comply with public health orders, the school was independent and could work within those orders to develop guidelines suitable for its academic, character, extracurricular programs. and community.

According to the guidelines of the Ministry of Education, singing is not allowed in schools.

However, King’s relied on state health orders to say it will allow singing if it is compatible with the school’s educational programs.

On Twitter, the King’s School received some support.

A Twitter user posted: “I support Kings School’s position here, something I never thought I would say!”

“The health and education bureaucrats threatening non-masked people with close contact is incredibly bad shape!” It’s time to stop contact tracing schools! “

Another Twitter user wrote: “The Liberal government has everything to do with this. They have the power to write a PHO that requires masks in all schools.

“They chose to create a general exception for schoolchildren in 2.17 (I). What King’s is doing is perfectly legal because the government has done it.

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