As Melbourne shivered through its coldest night since 2018, all Victorian students from prep to year 12 were up early and out the door as the state recorded no new cases of the coronavirus overnight.
With buses and trains working to schedule and parents quickly dropping their children at the gates, hundreds of thousands of students are now back in classrooms after nearly three months at home.
The return to school comes as Victoria recorded its first day without new cases since March 5 on Saturday. Four new cases were confirmed on Sunday and another two on Monday, with the state’s total number of infections so far remaining at 1687.
Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Tuesday morning it was “pleasing” to have zero new cases, with the number of people tested across the state up to 543,708.
Seven people remain in hospital, one in intensive care. The death toll remains at 19 and the number of active cases is 66.
“These things can change rapidly. We are nowhere near the end of it. It is pleasing to have a day with zero new cases there.
“The more testing you do, the better picture of how much virus you have in the community,” Mr Andrews said.
Queensland, NSW record no new local transmissions
Queensland recorded no new cases overnight with the number of confirmed cases remaining at 1062. NSW recorded two new cases, both returning travellers in hotel quarantine.
IN NSW, the 11-day streak of no locally-acquired COVID-19 cases may be back on track, with a recent case under investigation most likely acquired overseas. If so, NSW has not recorded a locally-acquired virus case since May 27.
The total number of coronavirus cases recorded in NSW is 3114.
Melbourne shivered through its coldest morning in almost two years, as large swathes of Victoria recorded temperatures below zero.
The mercury dropped down to 2 degrees in Melbourne early on Tuesday, marking the coldest morning in the city since the temperature tumbled to 0.8 degrees on August 29, 2018.
But Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster Michael Halfpenny said a lot of other places in the state recorded temperatures below zero degrees.
“It was cold right across the state, there was widespread frost and some of that frost was severe,” he said.
Omeo marked the state’s lowest temperature of minus 4.6 degrees, while Mt Hotham Airport and Coldstream both hit minus 4 degrees. Ballarat reached minus 3.5 degrees, while a low of minus 3 degrees was hit in Mortlake, Horsham, Wangaratta, Seymour and the Latrobe Valley.
Severe frost was recorded in the state’s north, west and parts of Gippsland.
Victorian years three-to-10 students joined prep, grade one and two and years 11 and 12 in classrooms on Tuesday morning, after a staged return to in-class teaching saw the youngest and most senior pupils return last month.
Staggered start and finish times and keeping drinking fountains out-of-bounds are some of the changes introduced to keep children safe.
President of the Victorian Principals Association, Anne-Maree Kliman, radio 3AW in Melbourne there were significant changes that everyone must embrace.
“Children need their routines, we all need routine, but it won’t be business as usual as we’ve known in the past,” she said.
“For example, parents walking into the school is no longer an option, children will be dropped off at the school gate.
“How we go about returning those things to normal depends on how we control the virus.”
Victoria has recorded no new cases of COVID-19, as the last wave of its students who have been learning from home return to school.
Public transport has also been in focus, with children warned to be safe around trains, which will undergo extra cleaning.
An independent analysis will be launched in Victoria to understand what can be learned from remote schooling, along with a summit of education leaders in June.
Aged-care facility remains in lockdown
A Victorian aged care centre remains in lockdown after a patient tested positive to COVID-19.
A resident of Hawthorn Village at Bright, in northeastern Victoria, was one of the state’s two latest infections on Monday.
The person has been isolated in hospital where they were transferred for an unrelated condition, while about 25 remaining residents are in quarantine.