As the final group of students prepare to return to school next week after nine weeks of remote learning, so too will the final group of Ballarat's boarding students.
Year 11 and 12 students, and year 10s taking VCE classes, moved back in before lessons began on May 26, and those in other year levels will unpack their bags at school this weekend.
Around 450 students board Ballarat Grammar. Ballarat Clarendon College and St Patrick's College, and about 80 students from Wesley College returned this week to their year nine campus at Clunes.
Ballarat Grammar's year 10 students and boarders began classes on Monday.
Year nine students from Wesley College's Glen Waverley and St Kilda campuses usually spend a full term at Clunes, but this group will be in town until the holidays, then return for several weeks after.
"We have made many adjustments to the program to ensure the safety of locals, including our local staff. These include limiting face-to-face interactions between students and community members and suspending our community service program," said head of Wesley at Clunes Ben Marsland.
Off-site activities will adhere to social distancing and direct interaction with community members has been removed.
Hepburn councillor and Clunes business owner Neil Newitt said the students' return on Sunday was an "indication that things are starting to get back to normal".
"I do understand there has been a lot of effort put in to looking at how students come back and engage with the community, and processes put in place around safety for the students and the community," he said.
With the college supporting local businesses as much as possible, Mr Newitt said it was good news for the local economy.
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"In the 20 years they have always been one to support local businesses and the local community," he said.
Ballarat Clarendon College sends its year nine students to their King Island campus for a term but, with Tasmanian borders still closed, it's unlikely there will be any students there this term.
A spokesperson said once the Tasmanian government reopened the borders, the school would decide the best way to manage the King Island program, with the aim to ensure all students get to experience life and schooling on King Island. Plans for a new year nine campus at Yuulong, on the Great Ocean Road, have been paused after receiving planning approval earlier this year.
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