CENTRAL Victorian secondary students have returned to classrooms after months of remote learning.
All regional students were back learning from home on August 5 as the state entered the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Regional primary school students returned to face-to-face classes last week, with secondary students joining them on Monday.
Bendigo Senior Secondary College principal Dale Pearce said all of the students and staff were relieved to be back.
"It feels a little different for many of us who have been here over many weeks without students and colleagues," he said.
"So it's certainly something different but I think everyone is pleased to have it back to closer to normal.
"I think students are back in the swing of things. I have heard a lot of comments from staff and students that they are pleased the health situation in our community has improved.
"We're now at zero cases and that has provided a sense of reassurance for everyone that it is safe at school."
There have been some changes for students, with those in secondary schools required to wear face masks at school.
The usual social distancing requirements and hygiene measures were also continuing in term four.
Catherine McAuley College principal Brian Turner said the changes have affected the school environment.
"It's a sense of relief but also quite surreal," Mr Turner said. "The kids are very quiet and reserved, and probably a bit cautious.
"Wearing a mask and being respectful to the guidelines brings an air of calmness. But they are positive to be back."
New Girton Grammar School headmaster Dr Clayton Massey said his school was also relieved to be back, even if there were new rules.
"There is a real buzz about the place with everyone back, including the staff," he said.
"Everyone is happy to comply - just to be back together and see each other, even if it is behind a mask, and to hear the voices in person."
Girton Grammar year 12 students and co-captains Flynn Edwards and Lucie Griffin both said it was great to be back in the classroom.
"It's been tricky not having that face-to-face connection with teachers and not being able to collaborate with fellow students," Mr Edwards said. "But I think we have all soldiered on and pushed through it.
"It's great to be back in the classroom, seeing teachers and all of our friends - it's certainly great to be back."
Miss Griffin said it was energising to be back in the classroom ahead of the year 12 final exams.
"I'm a little bit nervous but I'm feeling prepared so it should be ok," she said.
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