As the federal government considers relaxing rules for university students from China, ACT authorities provided only sketchy information on Monday about how the arrival of more than 60 year 11 and 12 students would be handled.
By Monday afternoon 72 people had been tested for coronavirus in Canberra, all negative.
The government is allowing about 760 year 11 and 12 students into Australia as long as they self-isolate under conditions approved by each state and territory.
Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said that could include isolation with their families or with host families, but boarding schools were "much less likely to be acceptable".
"The state health authorities who have to sign off on all these plans, I think, would need a lot of reassurance before they would accept a boarding house," he said.
ACT Education Minister Yvette Berry said more than 60 year 11 and 12 students would be welcomed back to Canberra but she has given limited information about how they will be quarantined.
She would not release the names of schools they attended, but a spokesperson said their living arrangements were a mix of "organised home stay, independent living, and living with family and friends".
Asked about arrangements for their 14-day isolation, she said, "The Education Directorate is working on an isolation plan that provides adequate public health protections."
Questions to Canberra Grammar and Canberra Girls Grammar were unanswered by deadline.
University students have began arriving in Australia after spending 14 days outside mainland China, including in Thailand and Hong Kong, with the ABC reporting that 1477 arrived on Friday and Saturday.
Professor Murphy said the government would consider whether the travel ban should be lifted for university students later this week.
"Nobody's going to let anyone come into Australia from Hubei province. But if the epidemiology in those other provinces of China suggests that the risk is low, that's something government could consider," he said.
"The medical advice will be at the end of this week based on what the risks are perceived to be of such an increase. But ultimately, that's a decision for government."
Professor Murphy said the rate of increase had slowed in parts of China other than Hubei, giving reason for "cautious optimism".
But the spread in South Korea and Japan was "of significant concern, and that's why we've recommended the rise in the travel advisory to level two for Japan and South Korea".
At level 2, Australians are urged to "exercise a high degree of caution" if travelling there.
By Monday, 763 cases were reported from South Korea and 146 in Japan.
Asked whether travel restrictions might be imposed, Professor Murphy said he could not rule out anything.
"Clearly you cannot isolate a country from every- from a large number of countries, but you have to look at the proportionate risk of the number of cases in those countries and the capacity of that country to control them," he said.
"We know at the moment that the South Koreans have very strong measures in place to isolate the main epicentre of that outbreak and we are watching that closely."
The advice for China remains at the highest level, "do not travel".
Australia had advanced pandemic plans, put in place for an influenza pandemic which were now being updated, Professor Murphy said. Each state and territory had fever clinics for GP treatment, quarantine areas and isolation wards in hospitals.
Worldwide, 2466 people have died. Australia has had 22 cases, seven among the Australians evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.