BENDIGO principals say staff and students are relieved there is now clarity around when schools will return to face-to-face teaching.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Tuesday announced students in prep, grade one and two, along with year 11 and 12 students, would return to classes on May 26. A pupil free day would take place on May 25.
Remaining students from grades three to 10 would go back to school on June 9. All special schools would open in full on May 26.
Bendigo Senior Secondary College principal Dale Pearce said it was great to see the clarity around a return date.
"The overwhelming message from students is that they can't wait to get back," Mr Pearce said. "I know the staff feel the same way.
"We now have two weeks to plan. I'm sure the Department of Education will be providing us with some advice around what we will have to grapple with to best manage the safety of students and staff."
Marist College principal Darren McGregor said the school, which caters to students from prep to year 12, was very pleased with the Premier's decision.
"I think there is an overriding sense of relief," he said. "What I like is there is certainty to it.
"It's clear that schools will be operating for these year levels from those dates. Parents won't have to worry about making decisions about whether or not to send their children.
"Having the youngest and oldest back is smart. Certainly for our youngest students, remote learning has been most difficult for them. They are the ones who have been relying on parents the most.
"With our year 11s and 12s, getting them back as soon as possible is very positive. Our senior kids have done a fantastic job, but in the last week they have struggled to maintain that intensity.
"Knowing the return to school is only two weeks away will help."
Catholic Education Office Sandhurst director Paul Desmond said Catholic schools in the region would also follow the advice of the state government.
"We're very committed to supporting the Minister for Education in the resumption of face-to-face learning," Mr Desmond said.
"We are very relieved around the certainty. I think parents will be happy with the timeline and the conditions around the return to school.
"I think teachers will be happy that normal teaching will resume. It appears to be a very logical, well-planned process."
Girton Grammar School will also follow the state government's plan for reopening schools.
"We had already informed our school community of our intention to prioritise VCE students as well as our youngest students if there was a staged return to school," Girton acting head Emma O'Rielly said. "We very much look forward to seeing these students again on May 26.
"For the overwhelming majority of our students, remote learning is going well. Still, there is no doubt that there is a social and emotional toll on young people who are isolated from one another.
"So it is wonderful that a return to regular school life is on the horizon."
Victorian Minister for Education James Merlino said there would be increased cleaning at all schools throughout terms two and three to reduce the spread of viruses.
Mr Merlino said Victorian school staff would also be prioritised for voluntary coronarvius testing for two weeks starting on Tuesday.
Schools have also been encouraged to implement a staggered drop-off system and break times to manage the number of students mixing at any time.
Mr Pearce said those changes could vary between schools.
"The advice around testing and hygiene is welcome and will be reassuring to teachers and students," he said.
"Some of the other details around start and finish times and when certain students have breaks, we'll have to work through that school by school. We need to do what is practical and achievable."
Mr McGregor said while students, staff, and families have been successfully managing remote learning this term, everyone was excited to get back to face-to-face classes.
"We have been really pleased with the quality of learning in the past four weeks," he said. "There has been an amazing level of commitment from our educators and parents.
"I think the relationship between educators and parents has never been stronger. We really want to be respectful of that increased relationship in the coming weeks."
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.