All Victorian School Students Back In Classrooms By June 9
Victorian students will return to face-to-face learning by the end of term, Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed today while noting this will involve a "staggered return".
Classes will resume for prep, Grade 1, Grade 2, Year 11 and Year 12 students on May 26.
All special schools will also open on the same day.
From June 9, students in Years 3 to 10 will join the rest of their school mates, meaning all students across government schools will be back in classrooms by June, the Premier said.
"This is a staged approach, a staggered approach, both in terms of public health -- to limit the number of people that are moving throughout the Victorian community and also for a whole range of practical reasons, [like] to give schools the appropriate time to move back to face-to-face teaching," Andrews said.
The Premier acknowledged Victorians' frustrations and said he has three kids who are all learning from home too, one who is completing Year 12.
"I know and understand this has not been easy. But it has made a profound difference. A profound difference to the number of cases that we have, and our prospects for even further rule changes as we move throughout May and into June," he said.
However, schools will look a little different, the Premier confessed.
Parents must drop their kids off at staggered times to avoid mingling. Recess and lunch breaks will also be staggered and cleaning will be ramped up at all schools.
Schools across Victoria never officially closed but Andrews has remained adamant that students should learn from home if they can learn from home.
Currently, only three percent of students are actually attending school and the rest are remote learning.
"If they weren't safe, then they wouldn't be open," Andrews said,
"The key point here now is that with so many tests and so many results with such a low number of positive cases, albeit confirmation that the virus is still out there and this is not over, we are confident that we can now move to bring kids back to face-to-face learning but in a staggered way."
He said it is essential to give parents and teachers as much notice as possible before classes resume at full flight.
Education minister James Merlino joined Andrews this morning and urged Victorians to "give us time" to implement these changes.
"It's a massive shift to go from flexible to remote learning," he said.
He said given between 97 and 98 percent of students have been learning flexibly and remotely means Victorians have heeded the message to act responsibly.
Merlino said the state government is working closely with Catholic and independent schools.
The government is also providing an additional $45 million in funding to help keep schools clean and disinfected,
"That means government schools, in addition to the normal cleaning that happens, will be cleaned every day... for the rest of this term and all of term three," Merlino said.
He confirmed VCE students and prep students would be the first to return, as well as students with special needs.
"All special schools will open in full on May 26. This has been one of the most challenging cohorts of kids, children with complex, additional needs," he said.
"This has been really, really tough on parents."
The education minister added teachers must ensure their workspaces are as separated as possible and things like assemblies, camps and excursions will not happen for the time being.
"So school resumes and that's an exciting thing for parents and our kids, but it will be different. Back to face-to-face teaching but it will look slightly different," Merlino said.
All staff will return on May 25 for one pupil free day.
There were 17 new cases of coronavirus in Victoria overnight.