Students from exclusive Sydney school relocate to regional NSW campus during lockdown | New South Wales

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Students at a prestigious Sydney private school have been given permission to bypass the city’s lockdown to attend a six-month camp described as a “rite of passage into manhood”.

Year 9 students from Scots College in Bellevue Hill left for the camp on Wednesday as the New South Wales premier, Gladys Berejiklian, announced the greater Sydney lockdown would be extended for at least two weeks after a further 97 cases of Covid were recorded.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported dozens of students left the city for the school’s Glengarry residential campus in Kangaroo Valley for the six-month camp. It is advertised on Scots’ website as a “rite of passage into manhood”.

The camp requires the students to live without technology such as phones or TVs before returning 200km to Sydney by mountain biking, hiking and canoeing.

The camp was allowed to go ahead because its duration meant the NSW health department did not consider it an excursion.

“Based on the information provided to NSW Health, the relocation of Scots College students from a campus in Sydney to a campus in Kangaroo Valley is permitted under current public health orders,” the department said in a statement.

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“This is not an excursion or a school trip. The students will be based at the campus in Kangaroo Valley for a period of about six months. Staff and students relocating from the campus in greater Sydney are subject to the stay-at-home order when they relocate. NSW Health has provided advice in relation to Covid safety measures.”

The school’s principal, Ian Lambert, reportedly told the Herald that students would undergo a 14-day lockdown after arriving at the camp.

“Those staff who live on campus and have children in the local school are not to have any contact with the boys or other staff during this time so that we can be in total lockdown,” he said according to the Herald.

“These staff will do their lessons online and the boys will be supervised in class. The college sought guidance, advice, and received approval from NSW Health for students to travel and commence their boarding at the Glengarry campus.”

Schools across greater Sydney were told on Wednesday that learning would continue from home until at least 19 July. Schools in regional parts of the state are banned from holding camps or overnight excursions.

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The New South Wales health department earlier in July said “an error” resulted in 163 year 12 students at another of Sydney’s most expensive private schools being given the Pfizer vaccine.

NSW Health said a mistake led to the entire year 12 cohort at St Joseph’s College being vaccinated instead of just the Aboriginal students.

Scots College was contacted for comment.

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