Parents and students can be confident schools are ready for the return of year 11 and 12 students on Monday, Minister for Education Jeremy Rockliff says.
Mr Rockliff said there were a range of precautionary measures in place at schools across the state, including sanitiser dispensers, rearranged learning environments and restrictions on large gatherings such as assemblies.
"But my message to parents is that schools have always been safe. The reason why we encouraged our students to learn from home was to limit that people movement across our community," he said.
Mr Rockliff said a modified curriculum had also been developed for grade 11 and 12 students, "which clearly spells out what is needed from them for the remainder of the year, and how teachers can best support them in their learning".
"We have also made excellent progress updating examinations and assessments. For example students in Accounting and Business studies will sit modified exams with confidence knowing they can achieve a nationally recognised certificate," he said.
Hellyer College principal Judy Fahey said the COVID-19 outbreak at the North West Regional Hospital meant the start of term two was "markedly different than it was anywhere else in the state".
"We can remain optimistic that things will continue to improve but we can't be complacent in schools or anywhere in the community whilst ever the virus is alive," she said.
Ms Fahey said the college would be reinforcing public health messages to students and staff, such as social distancing, personal hygiene and staying home if unwell.
"As easing of restrictions occur, the greatest prevention that we can afford ourselves is our own behaviour," she said.
Grade 12 student Nikki Carter said she had found it "quite hard" studying from home, especially for subjects that contained a practical component, such as dance.
But the 18-year-old was keen to be returning to college, and was confident there were "enough measures" to ensure students were safe.
MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS
Shadow Education Minister Josh Willie repeated calls for the government to employ mental health workers in every school to ensure students were supported as they returned to classrooms.
"School will look very different for those returning on Monday and many will have struggled to complete their schoolwork from home without their normal peer support or face-to-face engagement with teachers," he said.
"With the additional anxiety and worry about COVID-19, these students will need extra support to help them transition back to classroom-based learning."
Mr Willie said there were already concerns about mental health support for young people before the pandemic and the matter "must be a top priority".
Mr Rockliff said the government was "very mindful" of the importance of mental wellbeing and how it had been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
But he said there were already a range of initiatives in place, including a "wellbeing unit" in the education department, school nurses, psychologists and support workers, and a "check-in" app for students.
"And so we're well resourced and have continued to be increasing that resource," he said.
"... Our colleges and our schools are there to support our students' mental health and wellbeing because that is so important as well as of course the academic eduction program."