Victorian students will learn from home when school returns next Wednesday, except for vulnerable students and children of essential workers.
"If you can work from home you must learn from home," Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Tuesday morning.
The VCE will continue but the end of year exams will move to December. Universities will be asked to delay the start of first semester 2021.
The GAT test will also move from June to October or November.
Schools will be open for students who cannot learn from home, he said.
There are now 1191 cases of COVID-19 in the state, the Premier said.
Mr Andrews said he was confident Victoria could get students through the VCE by the end of the calendar year, but contingencies were being made in case it dragged into 2021.
"Our aim is to have that assessment and it may very different to the normal exam process, concluded before the end of this calendar year. Do we have a plan B? Of course we do. That would involve the assessment component, so – study right up until the end of the year and some potential assessments in the early part of 2021."
The Premier said he was trying to find the balance between insuring students get the education they need without undermining the coronavirus containment plans.
He said the rest of the school year would look very different while the majority of students learned remotely.
"We cannot have a million students moving around the Victorian community everyday. All that will do is spread the virus and undermine the really significant progress we've made," Mr Andrews said.
Education Minister James Merlino said another plan could be deriving an ATAR ranking from GAT test, school based assessments and year 11 work.
"My message to parents is, your child will finish the school year.
"This year will look different, university will look different at the start of next year."
Mr Merlino said laptops and tablets would be provided to students who need them to study from home.
"Every single student in Victoria will be supported."
He said there could be "short bursts" of school days to do practical work for classes such as chemistry, drama or vidsual arts.
More to come
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