All trial exams for Year 12 students in Sydney will be online as authorities bar students in areas worst-hit by the coronavirus outbreak from classrooms until further notice.
NSW on Friday unveiled its plan for students due to complete their Higher School Certificate in the coming months, with those outside the worst affected areas able to re-enter the classroom on August 16.
Activities include "essential curriculum delivery, wellbeing support and check-ins", the government said.
"It won't be normal classes but, certainly, it will be a level of presence to ensure that no students are disadvantaged in terms of acquiring their qualifications," Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Friday.
She reassured students and their families they would be able to sit final exams and get their HSC, promising 2022 will be "much, much better" due to vaccination rates.
Preparations for drama and oral exams will be permitted with the onus on schools to develop plans to ensure social distancing between on-site students and to "leverage their physical spaces", Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said.
"Education is essential and we must provide our HSC students the opportunity to receive the curriculum and wellbeing support they need during the last few months of their schooling," Ms Mitchell said.
The story is different for 24,000 Year 12 students living or learning in the eight, higher-risk local government areas of Blacktown, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Liverpool and Parramatta.
The area - home to two million people - has recorded five in every six cases in Sydney in the past fortnight.
Their opportunity to sit their exams rested with "a golden opportunity" to get vaccinated at stadium vaccine hub Qudos Bank Arena at Olympic Park next week, Health Minister Brad Hazzard said.
He compared students to Australia's Olympians given priority vaccine access to "go for gold" in Tokyo.
"What we really need you to do is go for gold next week," Mr Hazzard said to students.
Students in those local government areas will receive emails with booking details over the weekend while a hotline (1800 922 886) will try to answer parents' questions.
The premier asked students treat everyone they encounter at the vaccine hub as a potentially positive case.
"You may not have seen your friend for a couple of months, but don't abandon social distancing," Ms Berejiklian said.
With vaccines taking up to three weeks to take effect, those students' schools won't reopen immediately, the government said.
The delay to allow vaccinations to take effect and online trial exams were among measures the state's two main teachers unions were calling for on Thursday.
The NSW Teachers Federation and the Independent Education Union NSW/ACT also wanted all classes in the Greater Sydney Area delayed until at least August 28.
NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos on Friday said his union will "always put the health and safety of our students, teachers and their families first."
Australian Associated Press