Most regional schools remain open because of the much lower numbers of community transmission of COVID-19 in regional areas, Premier Daniel Andrews has explained.
Since the start of term three, no Ballarat region schools have closed because of a positive case among students, staff or families.
At a press conference for regional media on Thursday, Mr Andrews said a blanket closure of regional schools was not necessary despite all schools in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire being on remote learning except for VCE students and children of essential workers.
"We've got different rules for schools based in regional Victoria because the numbers are much, much lower than they are in Melbourne, a fraction of Melbourne and Mitchell Shire numbers," Mr Andrews said.
"It's not the health advice (to close). If that were to change though,if there was a different position based on an analysis of the data and the risk posed by school environments, we wouldn't hesitate to make that change, but that's not the advice at this stage, schools remain open."
Secondary school students, teachers and school staff will be required to wear masks at school from Monday.
Teachers will be allowed to remove their face covering while teaching if they wish, but will be required to wear their face coverings elsewhere around the school.
It is not mandatory for children under the age of 12 to wear masks but they can if they wish to do so.
But Mr Andrews could not rule out widespread regional school closures in the future.
IN OTHER NEWS
"Some things, particularly environments like schools, are under review all the time. We look at the data, there's a specific response and treatment within schools that's got a positive case, and that's where closures come from," he said.
Currently, schools who record a positive COVID-19 case among staff or students close for contact tracing and deep cleaning and are free to reopen when that process has finished.
Have you signed up to The Courier's variety of news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.