CENTRAL Victorian Catholic schools will follow the government's strict health advice when they reopen to students next term, the Catholic Education Office Sandhurst says.
It comes after more than 20 coronavirus cases were linked to Catholic schools in Greater Bendigo during Victoria's second wave.
The schools were closed for several weeks before the state government reintroduced remote learning to regional Victoria on August 5.
Regional Victorian students of all year levels will be allowed to return to face-to-face classes from October 12, or the second week of term four, as restrictions ease in the regions.
Catholic Education Office Sandhurst director Paul Desmond said all schools were aware of the potential risks as they planned a return to on-site classes.
"We would always be conscious that this virus is dangerous and it does not seem to discriminate about who it infects," Mr Desmond said.
"Our schools will maintain all of the protocols that the government and the health authorities insist are in place.
"We will do our upmost to ensure that the boys and girls, regardless of their age group, know and understand how to practise safe behaviours."
Mr Desmond said while remote learning had been successful, he was very pleased schools and families had a timeframe of when they would be returning to face-to-face classes.
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"It allows schools and parents to prepare to make sure we have a really successful resumption of term four," he said. "I am particularly pleased for the students.
"As children, they need to be in school for many reasons. Those reasons include academic skills, social skills, and life skills."
Mr Desmond said the students and staff at the schools who tested positive to COVID-19 were doing well.
"I've spoken on numerous occasions with the principals of those schools, just to ensure that the health of the children and teachers is improving," he said.
"I have had communication with a number of families just to share with them the best wishes and support of myself and my team."
Mr Desmond said all staff, students, and parents have worked hard during a challenging 2020.
"I think all schools, not only Catholic schools, but schools in general across Victoria have done their best by way of keeping children virus-free, providing support for remote learning, and ensuring that the schools are well set up for the return of students."
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