Thousands of Canberra students went back to school for the first time since the city was locked down in August, but not all parents are convinced every effort has been made to make classrooms safe.
About 41,000 students were able to resume to face-to-face classes on Monday after schools made COVID-safe adjustments.
Despite weeks of devising ways to improve ventilation and separate cohorts of students, Education Minister Yvette Berry said she would be surprised if there was no cases COVID-19 case at a school this term.
"Schools won't be isolated to positive cases of COVID, but we're definitely doing what we can to make them as safe as possible," Ms Berry said.
Ms Berry could not say how many staff members would be redeployed on November 1 when the mandate for a first dose of a vaccination came into force.
The principal of Charnwood-Dunlop Primary School will take time away from work because of his stance against the vaccine mandate. Ms Berry said this was being handled through the Education Directorate's internal processes.
"It's an individual matter and I think it's probably had a fair bit of life in the in the media and across the community so far now.
"And I think we just need to leave it there and concentrate on the good things that are happening today and that will happen next week as we return to on-campus education."
Red carpet welcome
On Monday morning the school drop off zones across Canberra filled up quickly as schools welcomed back preschool to year 2, year 6, year 9 and year 10 students.
Ngunnawal Primary School year 2 student Finlay McConaghy, 7, was so excited about seeing his friends that he could barely sleep on Sunday night.
"I was so excited that I was awake at 10pm," he said.
He enjoyed having picnics, going on walks and visiting the park with his family during the lockdown, but he was happy to get back to learning in the classroom.
Ngunnawal Primary School principal Rebecca Turner said her staff had been strategic about managing remote learning and family life but they were happy to have students back in classrooms.
"We do everything we possibly can in the remote environment but doesn't beat being on site with them," Ms Turner said.
The school has been split into three bubbles to avoid having to shut the whole school in case of a COVID-19 exposure.
Ms Turner knew of about 10 students who were staying home because of medical vulnerabilities but the majority of parents were sending their children to school.
At Good Shepherd Catholic Primary School in Amaroo, the students were given the celebrity treatment, complete with balloons, welcome signs and a red carpet to strut into school.
Assistant principal Melinda Hall O'Brien said the staff wanted to inject some fun into the first day back.
"All the parents loved it as they came. They were just able to drop their children off, the children were all happy. There was no tears, just lots of excited faces," Mrs Hall O'Brien said.
She said this week would be a chance to test the new safety procedures, such as staggered breaks in separate areas of the school, as well as reestablishing school routines.
Our coverage of the health and safety aspects of this outbreak of COVID-19 in the ACT and the lockdown is free for anyone to access. However, we depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support. You can also sign up for our newsletters for regular updates.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: