Grampians and Wimmera principals have welcomed the news they will be able to bring students back to the classroom earlier than planned, as they make individual decisions on whether to do this.
On Monday, the state government announced primary students in Victorian regional schools will now be able to return to on-site learning from the start of Term Four. Term three finishes this Friday.
Dimboola Primary principal Greg Sampson said his students would return on the first day of term, October 5.
"In the people, I've spoken to, they are overjoyed," he said.
"There was a lot of anxiety in the parent community. I did a survey with the parents, 'COVID 1.0', and we had a small portion - one out of 26 parents - that indicated they were stressed.
"I did the same survey when we went back into lockdown, and five of the 14 people that replied indicated they were feeling highly stressed and vulnerable. It paints a picture of the need to return to on-site schooling."
Warracknabeal Primary Principal Ben Tait also said all students would return to on-site learning from October 5.
He said it was "exciting to know we have reached the point where we can have kids back".
"It has given us all a lift after a tough year," he said. "Like the first time around, learning from home has been a challenge, and it may not have been the first choice for pretty much anyone, but the positive has been it's been a great team effort. That team includes homes, parents and big brothers and sisters to ensure continuity of learning for all students.
"I feel fortunate to be part of a great team that has done that."
A Department of Education and Training spokesman said Prep to Grade 6 students in stand-alone primary schools could return to on-site learning from October 5, with schools able to stagger the return of different year levels depending on local circumstances.
"Year 11 and 12 students and Year 10 students studying VCE and VCAL subjects can also attend on-site for the General Achievement Test (GAT) and essential assessments during the first week of Term 4," he said.
"Students in Prep - Grade 6 in P-12 schools will return to on-site learning from Thursday, October 8, and all other students, including Years 7 to 10 and VCE and VCAL students will return to on-site learning from Monday, October 12. Schools have the flexibility to stagger the return of students, depending on local circumstances."
"These arrangements have been put in place to enable students to attend on-site as soon as possible while reducing as far as possible the risk of any secondary school being required to close in the week of the GAT."
Here is what other schools in the region have told us are their plans.
Principal Daniel Weller said the college's junior school - from Prep to Year 6 - would return to face-to-face learning from Thursday, October 8.
Any secondary school student that needs to undertake essential assessments, such as the General Achievement Test on Wednesday, October 7, will also be welcome on campus, along with students of essential workers that cannot learn from home.
All secondary students will return to on-site learning from Monday, October 12. Mr Weller reiterated there was a need for parents and students look after one another and practice healthy hygiene. He thanked the college community's families and staff.
"I think people are looking forward to the holiday break, and having downtime with fewer restrictions," he said.
A spokeswoman for Ballarat's Catholic Education Office said the secondary college's return to school for Term four would be as per the instructions from the government.
"VCE/VCAL students return for GAT in Week 1, and all students return to school on Monday of Week Two," she said.
Principal Dee Kearsley said primary students would return October 8, and years seven to 10 students from Monday, October 12, as per the government directives.
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