Vic school holidays extended amid lockdown

By AAP Newswire

As Melbourne re-enters lockdown, most students will return to online learning.

Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed on Tuesday schools in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, north of the city, will not open their doors for term three, which was due to begin on Monday.

School holidays have been extended for a week while teachers prepare to return to distance learning.

But senior secondary students and year 10 students who study VCE subjects will head back to the classroom for face-to-face learning.

"They can continue to get to school on their own and won't need parents taking them and picking them up," Mr Andrews said.

"That's seen as a much lower risk and every day at school is important for those year 11 and year 12 students. We want to make sure their VCE is not any more disrupted than it already has been."

Special schools will also return to in-class teaching.

Some teachers are also being called on to help supervise youth in a holiday program for the next week to help parents in essential work.

"For those who are the children of essential workers or people who simply can't work from home, there will be supervised school holiday programs for them, and there is a week's extension of the school holidays to give us some more time to plan, some more time to get more data and to see exactly the most contemporary picture of the challenge that we face," Mr Andrews said.

Catholic and independent schools confirmed to AAP they intend to follow the guidance of the state government on the return to term three.

"This is a challenging time and it is vital we all play our part in minimising the risk of the COVID-19 virus spreading further in our community," Catholic Education Melbourne executive director Jim Miles said in a statement to AAP on Tuesday night.

"We will continue to actively monitor developments and work closely with the Victorian Departments of Education and Training, and Health and Human Services to ensure school practices reflect current advice."

Independent Schools Victoria chief executive Michelle Green also backed the government's decision.

"That remains our firm recommendation," she told AAP on Tuesday.

"We will be working with the government and Catholic school sectors on the details of the new measures in the coming days."

Thirty-one metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire Local Government areas will go back into stay-at-home restrictions for six weeks from 11.59pm on Wednesday.