Tracey Hynes from RSVP Bridal was concerned about the affect the formal ban would have on both students and her business.
Tracey Hynes from RSVP Bridal was concerned about the affect the formal ban would have on both students and her business.

FROCK ON: School formals get green light

GRADUATING students from across the region can celebrate the fact their end-of-school celebrations are back on.

The NSW Government today announced that COVID-19 safe graduation ceremonies and formals will be allowed to take place during Term 4.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said Year 12 students have shown incredible resilience during the pandemic and deserved to celebrate an important life milestone.

"We will always rely on the health advice, which recommends COVID safe formals and graduation ceremonies take place from 12 November after the final HSC exam," Ms Berejiklian said.

"Students are currently preparing for the HSC and deserve to have events to look forward to after their exams."

Schools across NSW will receive the COVID-19 safety plan guidance for Year 12 graduations and school formals by 11 September.

The news will also be welcomed the number local businesses who were set to take an economic hit had the ban stayed in place.

None more so than Coffs Harbour business, RSVP Bridal and Formal Wear, whose owner T racey Haynes said she had already ordered thousands of dollars worth of stock.

"If the formals don't go ahead we will have stock just sitting there and that can have quite a negative impact." Ms Hynes said last week.

The ban had generated a lot of debate in the community, with many finding it hard understand why seniors who mixed together in schools, could not do the same at such an important celebration such as their formals.

Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said Year 12 students have been working incredibly hard under difficult circumstances.

"Last week I made it clear that I wanted to find a way to allow students to celebrate the end of their schooling and I'm thrilled that this is now a reality," Ms Mitchell said.

"Schools will be able to use the guidance provided by Health to develop a COVID-19 safe plan for their celebrations. I know that students will be excited to have their formals as something they can look forward to after their exams."

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said it is important the events take place after HSC exams to reduce the risk of COVID-19 impacting on exams or preparations.

Year 12 students requiring a COVID-19 test should tell their GP or testing clinic they are currently doing their HSC. This will ensure their test results are prioritised, minimising any disruption to their schooling and study.

The NSW Government will also provide COVID safe guidance to students wanting to participate in schoolies under the current restrictions and health advice.



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