STUDENTS and staff were beaming at Quarry Hill Primary as younger year levels began their first day of face-to-face learning in months.
They were among the thousands of central Victorian students to return to the classroom months after the COVID-19 pandemic shut schools.
Quarry Hill principal Jo Menzel said the school had a fantastic start to the day, with a successful transition.
"[The students] just had great big smiles on their faces," Ms Menzel said.
"It almost looked like the first day of school where all their hair was beautifully done. And great big smiles from ear to ear. It was really, really successful.
"There's a real buzz around the school today. It is very much like the start of the year ... where the excitement is just so high. The students are so excited to see their friends and their teachers."
Students in prep, grades one and two, and years 11 and 12 returned to school on Tuesday, along with special school students.
Remaining students will begin classroom learning again on June 9.
There's a real buzz around the school today. It is very much like the start of the year ... where the excitement is just so high. The students are so excited to see their friends and their teachers.Jo Menzel
Ms Menzel said she'd felt amazing seeing the students again.
"We've missed them. Schools are very empty places without children," she said.
Like other schools, Quarry Hill Primary has taught students online since COVID-19 shut classrooms shortly before the end of term one.
Ms Menzel said teachers had adapted well to the new system, but were really pleased to see students again.
"Learning is so hands on at that early age, it's really important to have them back and be able to give them the learning where they need to be able to see and do and create," she said.
Ms Menzel said she was incredibly proud of the community for just getting the job done.
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