When regional Victorian students can return to school in term four

Education minister James Merlino
Education minister James Merlino

Regional Victorian schools and parents have been given some certainty on students' return to school for term four.

From Monday, only students in prep, grade one and two, and year 12 students will return to school full-time but the roadmap, outlined by deputy premier and education minister James Merlino, will see all regional students back in full time classes on October 26.

From Wednesday, after the year 12 General Assessment Task is completed on Tuesday, year 11 students will also get back to full-time classes.

For the first week of term all other year levels will continue with remote learning but from the second week of term, starting October 11, all year seven students will be back to face to face teaching full time and other year levels will get back in class two days a week.

Primary pupils in grades three and four, and secondary students in years eight and nine will attend school on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and those in grade five and six, and year 10, will attend on Thursdays and Fridays.

The staggered timetable will run for two weeks.

"From Tuesday October 26 all students will be back in the classroom full time so that gives I think comfort and certainty to families, parents, carers, students, teachers and staff about exactly what term four will look like," Mr Merlino said.

IN OTHER NEWS:

It will be an earlier return to class than outlined for metropolitan Melbourne schools, which will welcome back year 12 students from October 6, and see prep students return three days a week, and years one and two students return two days a week, from October 18.

Schools and students in regional areas currently under lockdown - Latrobe and Mitchell shires - will remain on the metropolitan return to school plan and Mr Merlino said any other regional local government area that needed to revert to stay at home conditions in the coming weeks would also be placed on the Melbourne return to school timeline.

Students living in metropolitan areas but attending regional schools will be allowed to attend with their classmates, but staff and final year students crossing the metropolitan/regional border must be double-vaccinated or have twice-weekly COVID tests to continue to attend school.

Mr Merlino praised students and staff on their rapid uptake of the vaccine.

"The numbers are quite fantastic; 98 per cent of the 40,000 government school staff who have responded to a voluntary survey have received at least one dose of the vaccine, the single dose rate for 16 to 18 year olds is well above 70 per cent and for 12 to 15 year olds it's well above 40 per cent single dose," he said.

Mr Merlino also revealed that targeted wastewater detection measures could be introduced to schools in high risk local government areas to provide early warning of any cases within the school community.

This story Victorian back-to-school plan offers certainty for term four return first appeared on Bendigo Advertiser.