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Elite Sydney school that charges up to $61,000-a-year says students DON'T need to wear masks

One of Australia's most prestigious schools has revealed it won't force its students to wear masks in the classroom.

The King's School in Parramatta, which charges up to $61,000 per year for its senior boarding students, won't be following guidelines developed by NSW Education and NSW Health that say high schoolers should wear masks at school.  

While public schools along with most Catholic and private schools have the mask mandate - this is actually inconsistent with the public health orders which say students can remove their face masks. 

The Kings School in Parramatta (pictured) said while NSW Education guidelines advised mask wearing for students in class, the public health orders do not require this

Headmaster Tony George said on Friday there was a legal obligation to follow the health orders but because the school was independent they had room to develop their own guidelines. 

'The NSW Education Department guidelines are primarily intended for NSW public schools,' Mr George said in the letter seen by The Sydney Morning Herald. 

'The King's School seriously considers all the advice and guidelines provided by all relevant authorities … it is the Public Health Orders that provide the express direction to independent schools.' 

The guidelines also say singing is not permitted for the short term in schools but Kings said the would also develop their own guidelines in this regard. 

There has also been some backlash over mask wearing rules during the HSC exams. 

NSW Health has issued a list of strict measures that will be implemented when Year 12 students sit their HSC next month - including the requirement to wear masks during the exams.

Exams begin on November 9 and NSW Health says a suite of measures will be enforced to ensure Covid protocols are observed.

Students have returned to classes in NSW but a number of Covid safety protocols need to be followed including physical distancing and mask wearing

Students will not be allowed to borrow or share equipment such as pens, pencils or calculators, and shaking hands or hugging other students is also banned.

After the exams students will be required to wipe down their chair, and no mingling will be permitted before or after. 

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said on Tuesday safety was the highest priority for the government but conceded he would talk to health minister Brad Hazzard about the HSC mask wearing. 

'I would accept that the premise of why we've decided for high school students to wear masks is to keep our schools open and to keep our kids safe, that is fundamentally front and centre of our minds,' he said.

NSW Health said the mask rules would also minmise further disruptions to learning.

They revealed a fully-vaccinated student who was wearing a mask would unlikely be considered a close contact if they were exposed to a Covid case.