After weeks of learning at home, students across Canberra are digging out their school bags and lunchboxes and heading back to the classroom.
On Monday, children in preschool, kindergarten, year 1, year 2 and year 6 will be filling the classrooms in primary schools, while year 9 and 10 students will join year 11 and 12 students on campus.
Ellie Sky, 4, and her brother Zach Sky, 6, were feeling very excited to go back to preschool and year 1 at Macquarie Primary School.
"I'm looking forward to playing outside and making craft in school," Ellie said.
"I really want to see my friends."
Zach said he was happy to spend less time on the computer and have some more challenging work to do at school.
"I'm looking forward to having some fresh air with my mate and the maths will be harder," he said.
Their mother, Lauren Johnston, said it would be a shock to the system when her two children go back to school, leaving her two-year-old daughter the only one at home.
"The house will be much quieter. My youngest daughter will miss having her siblings around, absolutely."
Ms Johnston has been talking to the children about the changes they can expect at school to mitigate the risks of an outbreak.
ACT schools have been advised to avoid different year groups mingling during the school day so that if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19, the exposure will be limited to part of the school community.
Evatt Primary School principal Michael Hatswell said his school was using colour coding to divide the year groups into four cohorts.
"We have put our four colours on the Evatt eagle, those being green, yellow, blue and red, to just help identify the learning environments and basically the zones for the kids to go in and out of the school."
Each colour has been allocated a different entrance, classrooms, toilets and a roster of playground spaces to use, so that they don't come in contact with each other during the day.
The specialist teachers who usually work across different year levels have been allocated one cohort to teach, while the principal and deputy will try not to go between groups.
The school has also moved to a three-break timetable to maximise time outside.
"I've worked really hard with our teaching team and our staff to put a good deal of time into upskilling and educating the kids when they come back about the new way of how school operates and the new way of doing things," Mr Hatswell said.
"And essentially schools will still be a great place to come. We're just doing things a bit differently to try and increase the safety for everyone."
Visitors and parents will not be allowed to set foot on school grounds at school pick up-and drop-off times. Excursions will not be going ahead.
Mr Hatwell said there were some parents who were apprehensive about their children returning, but the majority of families were excited about coming back to school.
"At the end of the day, they want the same for their kids as we want for their kids, which is for them to be learning in an environment that is as safe as possible," he said.
"The general feeling that I'm getting is that the community is really excited for kids to be coming back to school."
Ms Johnston was more focused on her children's wellbeing and social connections during the lockdown than their academic progress.
She was very pleased to give up her role as remote learning supervisor.
"The teachers have worked so hard to keep the kids engaged and motivated during this period, and as a parent I really recognise and appreciate that," she said.
"I think the schools have done their best to support the kids learning during the shutdown, but you can't beat teachers teaching face-to-face in a school environment," she said.
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