BENDIGO schools will space out desks, open windows, and increase cleaning to ensure year 12 students can safely complete this year's General Achievement Test.
The GAT - a three-hour assessment used to create a derived examination score for students who have had an interrupted year - will take place later this morning.
It was originally scheduled for June but was repeatedly postponed due to the state's COVID-19 lockdowns.
Marist College Bendigo principal Darren McGregor said the students were relieved to make it to this point.
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"We're happy and ready for it," Mr McGregor said. "It's a significant milestone for the kids to get it done.
"It's one of those things that has been postponed so much. The kids are after certainty and getting the GAT done is a good move in that direction."
Schools will need to follow a one student per four square metre rule in the examination rooms, along with mandatory face masks and increased cleaning.
While some Bendigo schools were yet to receive air purifiers, the principals said they would increase ventilation through open doors and windows.
Bendigo Senior Secondary College principal Dale Pearce said due to the large number of students at his school, they would also be staggering start times with half of the cohort beginning the GAT an hour later.
"It's designed to minimise the congregation of students before and after the GAT," Mr Pearce said. "That's an additional complication that we need to manage."
Mr Pearce said the measures would be good practise for the Victorian Certificate of Education written exams, which were due to start on October 27 and run through to November 17.
"All of the conditions that apply for the GAT will apply to the written exams," he said. "It will be good preparation for them.
"It will help students and provide a level of comfort and understanding."
Students in years 11 and 12 were given priority booking access to COVID-19 vaccines ahead of the VCE exam period.
Mr McGregor said almost 100 per cent of the VCE students at Marist College Bendigo were fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
He said that provided greater certainty for staff, students, and families going into the final month of schooling.
"We just see that as a real positive," Mr McGregor said. "It's something they have control over.
"We wanted that security and they picked it up faster than expected. Even for our 12 to 15 year olds, the vast majority have gotten their vaccination."
Mr Pearce said VCE students, teachers, and GAT supervisors at his school have also taken up the priority access to vaccines.
"It will be reassuring for everyone involved," he said.
Minister for Education James Merlino said tens of thousands of young people have been vaccinated in the past few weeks.
There was also increased testing in Melbourne hotspot areas ahead of the GAT, with 33 VCE students returning a positive COVID-19 test.
Mr Merlino said those metropolitan students would not be allowed to sit the GAT.
The education minister said the department was working to minimise the chance of a COVID-19 outbreak at schools across the state.
"Nothing we do in this space is risk-free," Mr Merlino said.
"But rolling out 51,000 air purifiers, requiring all staff to be vaccinated, making sure that we've got mitigations already in place in schools, whether it's staggered pick up and drop-off times in larger schools... all of those mitigating factors mean that we can keep the risk as low as possible."
The VCE exam period will end on November 17. VCE and ATAR results will be delivered to students on December 16.
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