CENTRAL Victorian students will be back for a new school year from Thursday.
After a year of remote learning in 2020, Bendigo Senior Secondary College principal Dale Pearce said staff and students were excited to return to some normality.
"We all learnt a lot last year," Mr Pearce said. "The fact that there's a vaccine on the horizon will be reassuring, particularly to people who are medically vulnerable in some way.
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"But we hope that everyone last year developed a level of confidence that we can manage a situation if an outbreak occurs.
"We will have to expect there will be cases from time to time, and when they occur in a school setting, there will have to be adjustments."
There will still be a range of COVID-19 health and safety protocols in schools this year.
The Department of Health and Human Services advised schools that teachers and students aged 12 and over should wear face masks at school when they cannot keep 1.5 metres distance from others.
Students under the age of 12, or those at primary school, do not need to wear a face mask.
School camps, excursions, and incursions can also resume from this term.
Kennington Primary School principal Travis Eddy said parents of the new prep students would also be allowed at the school for their child's first day.
"To have the parents there on the first day is really important," he said. "Parents will also come individually for interviews. I think from my point of view, it's exciting to think there will be a bit of normality."
Mr Pearce said the new year 12 students should also have some confidence going into their final year.
"Our messages to this year's year 12 students is you have an opportunity to prepare yourself well," he said. "If there are interruptions to school, we're much better prepared for them than this time last year.
"Students should be approaching this year with confidence and with the desire and enthusiasm to do as well as they can. Hopefully they are ready and raring to go."
Mr Eddy said schools would do all they could to make the most of 2021.
"We're confident we can do all of the right things," Mr Eddy said. "It's as much a school responsibility as everyone else.
"We will keep promoting that to ensure that spaces are safe and to follow all the DHHS rules."
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