“They’ve asked a lot about COVID-19. They seem to be pretty aware. Obviously they’ve been listening to their parents,” principal Tina McDougall said.
The nurses also gave each child a temperature check as they entered the school doors on Tuesday morning, along with a healthy dollop of hand sanitiser.
Ms McDougall said this was less out of concern one of them might be infected with COVID-19 than a desire to prevent the spread of the common cold.
“We’ve just got the kids back and we know when the kids have got a cold they spread it and then half the grade is at home again,” she said.
Not all students were back in class on Tuesday.
“I’d say 95 per cent of our kids have returned but there are [parents] that have decided that they will home school them until further notice, and that’s parent choice,” Ms McDougall said.
A handful of the school’s parents are stranded overseas, having left Australia to visit family during the term break.
About 618,000 Victorian students were expected back in class for the first time on Tuesday, as those in years 3 to 10 joined their younger and older schoolmates, who returned to school two weeks ago.
At Ss Peter and Paul’s, a Catholic primary school in Doncaster East with just 75 students, attendance was 100 per cent.
Many were taking their first opportunity in months to play with friends at the lunchtime break, principal Trish Vandekolk said.
“The children, they’re well, they’re happy and they’re excited to be back at school and that’s probably our greatest achievement,” she said.
The school will this week begin to collect summative data on its students’ progress during the remote learning period.
“We’ll be using that as a measure of the impact of the remote learning experience,” Ms Vandekolk said.
“I’m pretty confident that our children had a relatively positive experience, inasmuch as we had contact with our children every single day.
“Even if they were little squares on a screen.”
The Andrews government launched a public survey on Tuesday about people’s views on the remote learning experience.
Education Minister James Merlino said the government wanted to hear from everyone.
“We want to hear from our students: what did you like? What didn’t you like? We want to hear from parents and teachers, principals … what worked and didn’t work?”
The survey was launched ahead of a summit of education leaders from the state, Catholic and independent school sectors in the first week of term three, on the lessons acquired from remote learning.
Adam Carey is Education Editor. He joined The Age in 2007 and has previously covered state politics, transport, general news, the arts and food.