Like most school experiences in Melbourne this year, term four is going to be different.
It begins on October 5 with a week of remote learning during which year 12s sit the General Achievement Test (GAT). In week two VCE, VCAL, specialist and prep to grade six students will start a staged return to their classrooms as Melbourne's hard lockdown restrictions slowly ease. Students in remaining secondary year levels will continue remote learning until public health advice on the coronavirus outbreak changes.
While school staff, students and parents are exhausted after a year of unprecedented challenges and the arrival of remote learning, there's a sense of optimism too.
Bentleigh Secondary College principal Helene Hiotis said her senior students were excited about returning.
Encouraging and celebrating students is a big theme for schools entering term four. Catholic Education Melbourne has started the Year 12, "You've Got This" video message series letting students know their community is behind them as they begin this final and busy phase of school life.
"May this weird 2020, your year of VCE, nonetheless be a year that brings you a sense of hope and purpose in your life," Archbishop Peter Comensoli told students.
The Education Department has made mental health and lost learning a particular focus for term four, with additional support services to be rolled out.
"As students return to face-to-face learning, schools will focus on supporting students' mental health and wellbeing and give priority to identifying students who will need help catching up," a department spokesperson said.
Fitzroy Primary School principal Angela Richmond said the school community was ready to return to a school life that was as close to normal as possible.
"There's definitely a lot of excitement when I speak to staff," she said.
"It was remarkable what happened last time; just business as usual as the children headed into their classrooms to be greeted by their teacher. The more we can get them back into those routines, the better."
Term four is also a crucial time for helping the future preps of 2021 with their transition to school.
"We will very easily cope with receiving children who have had kindergarten disrupted, so we're not worried about that," Ms Richmond said.