Year 12 students will not be returning to full-time face-to-face learning in the first two weeks of term 4 after the public school teachers union advocated for remote learning to continue for some classes.
On Tuesday it was revealed that Year 12 students in the ACT would be allowed on campus from the beginning of term 4, followed by year 11 on October 18.
However, for the first two weeks at public colleges year 12 students will only be allowed to attend for essential assessment, AST preparations and essential VET or practical coursework.
Year 11 will also be allowed back to undertake essential exams and assessments in two weeks of term 4 if the tasks can't be deferred. Year 11 and 12 will not be allowed to mix.
More on-campus classes will be allowed from October 18 which will allow VET students to do assessments and catch up on coursework.
"Each public college will have its own site-specific plan and there will be some variation between public colleges of the approaches adopted to meet the local school context and curriculum needs," an ACT government spokeswoman said.
"The final decision to return students to schools will be based on the advice of the Chief Health Officer. Implementation planning for public schools will be based on discussions held between the Education Directorate, ACT Health and a number of other stakeholders, including the union."
AEU ACT branch senior industrial officer Patrick Judge said college staff were cautious about returning to face-to-face teaching while the rest of the ACT community remained in lockdown.
Union members met with the Education Directorate several times this week to hash out a COVID safety assurance plan.
Mr Judge said there were questions around some safety measures that teachers were unfamiliar with, such as infectious waste disposal and fit-testing masks.
"There was some initial confusion for our members around exactly what the plan was but that has been addressed over the last three days and our members are much more comfortable now that they know what the plan is for the start of next term," he said.
Catholic Education Canberra Goulburn director Ross Fox said year 12 students in Catholic systemic schools would be returning to the classroom from the start of term 4.
Classes which have a mixture of year 11 and 12 students will continue with remote learning, however year 12 students would be able to take these classes at school.
"It won't mean that things are normal for year 12," Mr Fox said.
"Having spoken to the principals this morning, though, there's certainly a level of excitement and enthusiasm from both the students and staff to do everything we can to welcome the year 12s back so that they can finish an important year in their education really well."
Association of Independent Schools of the ACT executive director Andrew Wrigley said some independent school were continuing with remote learning for year 12s in week one and bring them back for the AST while others were returning to on-site teaching from the first day of term.
"The guiding principle on that is that they are extremely confident and comfortable in the remote learning delivery and I would therefore suggest the students are as well," Mr Wrigley said.
A COVID safety assurance plan will be completed by each public college ahead of term 4.
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