Government allows 'friends bubble' for school children

Monday, 27 September, 2021

Government allows 'friends bubble' for school children

As the NSW Government continues to relax COVID restrictions, children whose parents are fully vaccinated can now form a ‘friends bubble’.

From 12 noon on 21 September, people aged 18 years and under who live in stay-at-home areas and areas of concern across NSW are able to create a bubble of three friends and visit each other’s homes for play and activity, subject to the following conditions:

  • Each child is allowed to have two designated friends come to their house. These two friends must always be the same, creating a three-person friends bubble.
  • All people older than 18 years in all the households must be fully vaccinated.
  • The friends must reside within 5 km of each other or in the same LGA.
  • If parents/carers are dropping children off, they must not stay to interact with other parents or carers.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said NSW’s strong vaccination rate had allowed the government to make this change to support the wellbeing of young people.

“Parents and children have had a difficult few months, trying to balance both work, often from home, as well as home schooling,” Berejiklian said.

“This change will hopefully make a big difference for families during the school holidays and allow young children and teenagers to catch up and reconnect with their friends.”

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said at all times, the government had tried to strike a balance between the best possible health outcomes, while easing the pressures on families and individuals living in lockdown.

“These latest changes are aimed at giving children more opportunities to be together and balances COVID safety with their mental health and wellbeing,” Hazzard said.

Minister for Education and Early Childhood Sarah Mitchell said this change would also benefit older students, allowing them to create a study bubble ahead of the HSC.

“Year 12 students have had a stressful few months, and with the HSC approaching, a study bubble is a great idea to help students maintain motivation, receive support from a classmate and continue their preparation for the upcoming exams,” Mitchell said.

Image caption: A bubble of fun — children under 18 can create a friend bubble among a group of three as long as all adults in the house are fully vaccinated.

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