MOST families at Bendigo's special schools have been keeping their children at home despite on-site learning continuing during stage three restrictions.
Most Victorian students returned to remote learning on August 5 as COVID-19 case numbers began to climb across the state.
But the government provided an exemption to special schools, with those students and staff expected to continue face-to-face teaching.
Bendigo Special Developmental School principal Kirshy McAinch said more than half of the school's parents have decided to keep their children at home.
"It's a really interesting division because half of the community is thrilled and really grateful that the school is open," she said. "They can maintain that routine and look after other children who may be homeschooling.
"But the other half is very angry and frustrated that we're open, because that means we're not able to provide the full remote learning experience and support that we did last time."
Kalianna School Bendigo principal Peter Bush said about half of his student cohort were also staying home.
"It was clear in the communications from the department, government and school that we didn't have to provide remote learning resources like the last time we did remote learning," he said.
"So we have been able to free up some staff to provide some resources for students who choose to stay at home. But it's nowhere near the same support as last time."
Mr Bush said most families have been supportive of the current situation.
"Obviously we can't please everyone," he said. "Some have been very upset and expect you to do remote learning as well.
"It's physically not possible to do two modes of learning. But overall, we have had the support of our community."
Staff at both schools were wearing protective equipment like masks, as well as consistently washing hands and cleaning high-touch surfaces.
"We're doing temperature checks on students as soon as they arrive," Ms McAinch said. "If they have the slightest symptoms, they need to return home. That's the same for staff.
"We're just doing everything we can to make sure the school is as safe as possible."
Mr Bush said the vast majority of Kalianna students were also wearing masks at school, even though they were not required to.
"We have also created what we've called the 'Kalianna bubble'," he said "So when a staff member is away, we're not employing casual reliever.
"We've all taken it upon ourselves to take on the extra load. We want to create a bubble so we can control who comes in and out of the school. It has been really well-received."
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