Balloons and a welcome banner were on the gates of Queanbeyan West Public School on Monday morning as children returned for on-campus learning.
Principal Belinda Jamieson was there to greet the students who were "very excited" to be back with their friends and teachers.
"We had a couple of children skipping through the gate and we had lots of smiles. The teachers were out there greeting all the kids. We had a dance party this morning."
All public schools students in New South Wales returned to class full time on Monday after the coronavirus crisis forced most student to learn from home.
The NSW education department announced last Tuesday that schools would be going from phase one, where students attended one day per week along with children of essential workers, straight to five days of face-to-face learning.
Meanwhile, ACT public schools welcomed back grades three, four and 10 on Monday. Pre-school, kindergarten and years one, two, seven, 11 and 12 returned to class on May 18. By Tuesday, June 2, all ACT students will be learning in the classroom.
Queanbeyan West Public School had to make some changes around campus to minimise the health risks during the COVID-19 pandemic. Parents have been asked to drop off children without coming on campus and pick up times have been staggered according to surname.
Each student was issued a learning pack with stationary and worksheets so they wouldn't be sharing resources. Extra cleaning staff were hired to work throughout the day and plenty of hand sanitiser has been stationed around the school.
"Within our classrooms we are still trying to encourage children to be socially distant where they can," Mrs Jamieson said.
"There will be no contact sports played on the playground. Our playground equipment is cleaned after every lunch time and every recess."
Mrs Jamieson said there was positive feedback from parents regarding the home learning activities that were a combination of online and paper-based activities. She said it would take some time to discover what affect this period of distance learning would have on the students' learning and development.
"We know that kids learn best when they are in that face-to-face environment. And the teachers have done an incredible job, I must say. From the office staff to the SLSOs (School Learning Support Officers) to our cleaners, to our general assistant, everyone has really stepped up to ensure our community is well looked after."
Year six student Ruby Holden, 12, was the only student leader to be at school all term as her parents were essential workers.
"It was really weird because there was not many people on the playground and it was really quiet and easy to learn because there was no distractions," she said.
Meanwhile, Javeria Muneeb, 10, had been taking her classes at home with the help of Microsoft Teams.
"It was quite fun actually because you get a specific time to when you have to turn your assignments in so you can do it whenever. And there are video chats in the morning so the teachers explain everything you have to do."
Ruby and Javeria said it was strange to have the school all back together. With a "no hugs" rule firmly in place, the students were trying to come up with different ways to greet each other.
"We tried doing air-hugging but it didn't really work," Javeria said.
"We tried jazz hands too," Ruby said.