REGIONAL Victorian primary school students will be allowed to return to face-to-face classes from the first week of term four.
Education Minister James Merlino on Thursday confirmed students in prep to year 6 would return to on-site classes from October 5.
Secondary school students would only be allowed to return to classes from October 12 or the second week of term four.
Mr Merlino said years 11 and 12 students would be allowed back at school in that first week of term four for assessments and the General Achievement Test.
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The government previously said all students in regional Victoria would return to face-to-face classes on October 12.
Mr Merlino said schools could make the decision on how they would stagger the return to face-to-face learning.
"They'll make a local decision whether they have their preps on the Monday, or whether they have the grade sixes on the Monday, but the transition will happen in that first week," he said.
"Because of the great results in regional Victoria, we could make a corresponding change to the settings we had for schools in rural and regional Victoria.
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Dimboola Primary principal Greg Sampson welcomed the news.
"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."
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