By Melissa Meehan
Victorian schools will reopen this month in a phased return for students following strict COVID-19 restrictions.
The majority of Victorian students have been learning remotely during Term 2.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Tuesday morning that students in Prep, grade one and two as well as Year 11 and 12 will return on May 26.
Vulnerable students in years three to 10, and children whose parents and carers cannot work from home, can continue to attend schooling on-site if needed during that time.
Other students from grade three to Year 10 will continue to learn remotely until Tuesday 9 June, to give the government and Chief Health Officer time to monitor and evaluate the situation.
Education Minister James Merlino said enhanced cleaning will also take place every day to help reduce the spread of viruses and germs in schools.
Schools will be encouraged to implement staggered pick up and drop off times and lunch breaks in an attempt to reduce gatherings.
“As a father of three kids who have been learning from home, I know this has been a really challenging time for many families,” Mr Andrews said.
“But thanks to everyone’s efforts in sticking to the rules and getting tested, we’re now able to start getting our kids back into the classroom.”
It won’t be a complete return to normality – no school camps will be run, no excursions and no drinking fountains will be used.
The announcement comes as Victoria reported 17 new cases overnight – eight of them linked to the Cedar Meatworks cluster.