Victorian students to return to classrooms by end of May

Students will start heading back into the classroom by the end of May, the Victorian government has announced.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews Source: AAP

Victorian students will resume face-to-face learning from May 26, as part of the state government's easing of coronavirus restrictions.

Prep, grades one and two, and years 11 and 12 students will be the first ones allowed back in the classroom.

"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," Premier Daniel Andrews said on Tuesday.


Since the start of term two, schools have only been open to vulnerable students and those of essential workers as part of the government's measures to stem the coronavirus spread.

Only about three per cent of students have been attending school in person as a result, Mr Andrews said.

From June 9, years three to 10 will join their schoolmates on campus at government schools.

"I know the last four weeks have been very, very challenging," Mr Andrews told reporters.

"With three students in my own household, all learning from home, including our eldest, who's doing Year 12, I know and understand this has not been easy."

No mingling at drop-off and pick-up

There will be some restrictions in place though.

Parents and carers will be prevented from mingling during drop-off and pick-up.

Recess and lunch breaks will be staggered and teachers and staff will be socially distanced.

Children will have to drink only out of their own water bottles, not from fountains.

Restrictions easing

On Monday, Mr Andrews outlined the state's "safe, cautious and appropriate" easing of COVID-19 restrictions, from 11.59pm Tuesday until May 31.

They include allowing Victorians to host up to five visitors in their homes and meet outdoors in groups of 10.

"They should be family and friends, after all, that are the people that mean the most to us and that's where it's hurt; people not being able to connect with the people that are most important to them," Mr Andrews said.

But it's not an open invitation to host dinner parties every night, he warned.

"This is far from over. This is an opportunity for a first step that is safe, cautious and appropropriate," Mr Andrews said.

Gatherings of 10 people outdoors will also be allowed as long as social distancing is observed.

The premier's beloved game of golf, walking groups, fishing and hiking are among the outdoor activities back on the list of allowed activities.

Professional sport teams including AFL and rugby league will be able to get back to training from just before midnight on Tuesday.

"Training resuming paves the way for footy to be back," he said.

Victorians should continue to work from home where possible.

Up to 10 guests can attend a wedding along with the bride and groom, and celebrant, while indoor funerals can host up to 20 people plus those needed to run the service.

The state recorded another seven coronavirus cases on Monday, bringing Victoria's total to 1494.

One of the latest cases is related to an outbreak at Cedar Meats in Melbourne's west, taking the total number of abattoir-linked cases to 77.

Four of the latest cases were returned travellers and two cases are under investigation.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits.

Testing for coronavirus is now widely available across Australia. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

The federal government's coronavirus tracing app COVIDSafe is available for download from your phone's app store.

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4 min read
Published 12 May 2020 at 8:06am