Teachers' unions have questioned moves to have HSC students return to face-to face learning by August 16.
NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos labelled Wednesday's announcement as political and premature, given "COVID cases were continuing to rise and trending in the wrong direction".
"This does not fill teachers with confidence," Mr Gavrielatos said.
"Noting the advice that worksites and human interaction are the major contributors to transmission of the virus, we are dumbfounded by today's announcement particularly as some of our schools with large Year 12 groups, will have gatherings of up to 600 people on site.
"While the return of Year 12 might represent an aspirational target for the government, we must remain steadfast in observing health advice."
The Independent Education Union of Australia NSW/ACT, which represents over 32,000 teachers, principals and support staff in Catholic and independent schools, said the move raised more questions than it answers.
The IEU calls for greater clarity as teachers once again adapt to fast-changing, complex circumstances to ensure their students can take on the HSC with confidence.
"How will rapid-antigen testing be administered and how quickly will results be available? Will vaccinations be administered at individual schools? Will the local government areas under the tightest restrictions (including the three announced today) be prioritised?" asked IEU NSW/ACT branch secretary Mark Northam.
He anticipated close consultation from NSW Health so the union can support members' safety and provide them with accurate detail to allay their concerns.
"We expect the buffer of time between now and 16 August to be used to iron out every last detail and contingency," Mr Northam said.
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