SCHOOLYARDS across the region have once again become a hive of activity, as students returned to full-time, face-to-face learning on Monday.
The student's return to the classroom comes after the state government last week gave the green light for classes to resume.
The news was well received as the government recorded an attendance rate of more than 86 per cent on Monday, just shy of the normal public school attendance rate of 92 per cent.
St Edward's Primary School co-principal Lisa McSweeney said her school's community was thrilled to be back.
"I think the thing we have learned from all of this is that schools are very much valued," Ms McSweeney told the Leader.
"The kids have realised how good a place school is for learning and socialising, while the staff are very dedicated to their kids and they've missed them.
"Learning from home isn't a natural way of learning for kids.
"They need that social interaction, connection with their teachers, and I think that's why they are so glad to be back."
Fellow co-principal Alison Hatton echoed her colleague's sentiments, saying teachers had adapted to the earlier-than-expected return to face-to-face teaching.
"I think we were relieved more than anything," Ms Hatton said.
"The online learning platform we had devised was really well received by parents and the kids engaged in it really well.
"Still, there's nothing quite like being together and you can see that in the excitement today [Monday]."
Students at Quirindi High School also shared in the excitement.
Principal Ian Worley said while it was great to be back, students and staff were being urged to continue practicing social distancing measures.
"We are all looking forward to getting back into the classroom," Mr Worley said.
"We are all here to support one another and continue to be the best school community we can possibly be."
Ms McSweeney said her students would follow strict social distancing guidelines for the foreseeable future.
"We're taking a number of measures like hand sanitiser stations all over the school, disinfecting classrooms after every class and things like that," she said.
"The good things is the kids are really up to speed on all of the social-distancing measures and are really following them to a tee."