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Staggered return for Vic school students

·2-min read

All Victorian students will return to face-to-face learning before the end of 2021.

Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday released Victoria's roadmap out of lockdown, which includes a staggered reopening of schools in Melbourne to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

The first group to return will be Year 12 students, who will be back five days a week from October 6 until their exams begin.

Those studying a Unit 3/4 subject, in their final year of VCAL or the international baccalaureate will also be able to return to onsite learning from that date.

In the regions, students from Prep to Year 2 and those in their final year will be back once 80 per cent of Victorians aged over 16 have received at least one vaccine dose, which is forecast to happen about September 26.

A return date for all other regional students will be decided by September 30, with health advice still to come.

Teachers travelling between Melbourne and regional Victoria will be required to get tested twice a week.

In Melbourne, Prep students will be back to the classroom from October 18 on Monday to Wednesday, and Grades 1 and 2 students on Thursdays and Fridays.

Once 70 per cent of eligible Victorians aged over 16 are fully vaccinated, which is expected to happen by October 26, all other school years will be invited back into classrooms.

Years 3 and 4 will return on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with Years 5 and 6 on Thursdays and Fridays.

Year 7 and 11 students will return five days a week, while Years 8 and 9 will attend on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and Year 10 on Thursdays and Fridays.

Out of school hours care will resume by October 26.

"It will look different, but they will be back in the classroom," the premier told reporters on Sunday.

From November 5, when an estimated 80 per cent of eligible Victorians will be fully vaccinated, Mr Andrews said schools will return to "normal", with all students back in class every day until the end of term four.

He said Education Minister James Merlino would be speaking in the coming days to provide further details on the plan, including how schools will be better ventilated before students return.

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