TAMWORTH'S public schools have been given the green light to return to full-time face-to-face teaching from next week.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the move, which will allow students to return to their schools full-time for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
The decision comes after every NSW public school student has spent at least one day in the classroom during the past week.
Tamworth Public School principal Christopher Connor welcomed the decision, saying his pupils and staff were "looking forward to being back".
"It's not quite business as usual as there will be a number of restrictions still in place to do with social-distancing measures and greater hygiene measures," Mr Connor told the Leader.
"There will also be some activities, within the school, we won't be able to engage in such as assemblies; excursions; parents coming in to run activities; and things like that.
"However, we are very much looking forward to having everyone back and we will be following all of the guidelines set down by the department of education."
Mr Connor said the recent part-time attendance of students had left the school's teachers eager for a full-time return.
"I know the teachers are looking forward to getting their classes back," he said.
"They've had a quarter of a class for one day at a time, plus the children of essential workers for a week now.
"Now they will have all of them back together at the same time and I know they are really looking forward to it."
The state government's announcement to allow children back full time has drawn criticism from the NSW Teacher's Federation, which questioned the government's decision to accelerate the return to full-time operations.
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson said safety was at the forefront of the government's mind during the decision process.
"This is great news and I want to thank our school communities and parents right across the electorate for their patience during this difficult time," Mr Anderson said.
"I want to assure parents, staff and the students, the health advice is very clear; a return to full-time face-to-face teaching is safe.
"A return to full-time face-to face-teaching and learning is crucial for the education progress of every child in NSW from Kindergarten to Year 12."