Students at Gilmore Primary School have added a new step to the morning routine: everyone receives a squirt of hand sanitiser before heading off to breakfast club.
Gilmore Primary School principal Vicki Lucas greeted students as they walked into school on Tuesday morning, the first day all year levels returned to classroom learning in public schools across the ACT since the COVID-19 outbreak forced schools to pivot to remote learning.
"It's great to see them all back. Schools don't make a lot of sense without children," she said.
Schools have had to adapt to the COVID-19 world. Excursions and assemblies are on hold and each room has a sign stating how many adults are allowed inside. Cleaners target high-touch points through the day while students must wash their hands after recess and lunch.
Ms Lucas said the students had taken the new procedures in their stride.
"The children, particularly the young ones, they've soaked up that messaging from the community and media and whenever we say, 'We can't do this' straight away they say, 'It's because of that virus.'"
In the ACT, years five, six, eight and nine were the last cohorts to return to the classroom.
Some students thrived while learning from home while others needed some encouragement from their parents to complete tasks set online.
Jana Cunanan had her three children, ranging from year three to year eight, all working at home.
"Jayda, my middle child, she was much more independent and happy to just go plod off and sit down and do her work, whereas my youngest, he was a bit more anxious in a way and needed me to sit around helping a bit more," she said.
"And my oldest was a bit bored with it all. He wanted to be outside riding a pushbike."
Jayda Cunanan, 10, said she enjoyed working from her couch at home.
"I would sometimes go outside and have a little play with my dog," she said.
Mrs Cunanan said her children were happy to be back for the social aspect of school.
"I think children adapt pretty quickly. As confusing as it was even for us adults, they take it all in amazingly."
Ms Lucas said she was not concerned about students falling behind in their learning because every family was in a different position.
"Some people were working from home themselves, some people had lost their jobs, some people were uncertain, some people were confident. And our messaging to the families was teaching is our super power. When the children come back, we'll pick them back up," she said.
She said the staff were reflecting on their experience of remote learning and using these findings to improve their work going forward.
"We're not just going back to 'normal'. We're going to learn from it and we're going to include the students and families in that as well so we can refine what we're doing and innovate on bits and pieces that we've learned along the way."