All NSW school students will be back in classrooms by October 25 as part of changes to the state's roadmap out of the COVID-19 lockdown.
Premier Dominic Perrottet is expediting some freedoms for the state following a crisis cabinet meeting on Wednesday evening after the state reached its vaccination milestone of 70 per cent double dosage.
The first group of students returning on October 18 will be kindergarten, year one and year 12, with the remaining cohorts now all returning the following week - a week sooner than under the previous plan.
NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos said the government had not taken into account students under 12 who cannot be vaccinated.
"It poses a risk for all involved," Mr Gavrielatos told the ABC.
"We'll be meeting with the department this afternoon, and one of the first things we'll be asking is for the health advice ... that went to this variation and has approved this variation."
And while he agreed with NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell's view that teachers were excited to get back to the classroom, he said health advice had so far prevented it.
"What are we going do with the logistics, the operations of schools, when we only have about 85 per cent of teachers double vaccinated?" he said.
The premier announced several changes to speed up a return to normal life in NSW after nearly four months of lockdown.
"That's great for kids," he said on Thursday.
"It's a major relief for parents and their sanity and I think this is an important decision today and I want to thank all the teachers who are out there getting vaccinated to ensure that we can open our schools as safely as possible."
The education minister welcomed the move to get students back to school sooner.
"As I have said many times, we know that the best learning environment for our children is in the classroom with their teachers and with their friends," Ms Mitchell said.
Teachers must be fully vaccinated to return to classrooms and will still be required to wear masks after the state reaches 80 per cent double dosage.
"We've got encouraging numbers already of our staff who are vaccinated and those numbers will go up as that data collection continues in the coming day," Ms Mitchell said.
About 45,000 teachers across the state have confirmed they are fully vaccinated, she says.
Last week, unions voiced concerns some schools were not adequately ventilated and lacked air purifiers.
But Ms Mitchell said they had a number of COVID-safe measures in place and had completed an audit on 2200 public schools across the state.
"I appreciate that for some parents they are a little bit nervous and they want to make sure that it's a safe learning environment for their children," she said.
Australian Associated Press
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