The resilience of people astounds the principal of St Mary's Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School, Lindy Nelson, as she reflects on the massive hurdles the community has faced this year.
The bushfires in summer and now the coronavirus pandemic meant the start of the 2020 school year has been anything but normal.
Mrs Nelson, as her staff prepare for Monday, May 25's full return to school, says they have the processes in place to make sure everyone's health and safety is not at risk.
"I believe we are really prepared for Monday," she said.
As part of the preparation for the gradual and full return to school, Milton's St Marys has an isolation room.
Any child with COVID like symptoms is taken to the isolation room and their parents are then asked to collect them.
"We just can't afford to take any chances," she said.
"We would usually soldier on if anyone had a sniffle but at the moment you don't."
Mrs Nelson wants parents to know that their children are safe at the school.
Desks, inside the classroom, have also been moved so there is more space between them.
The school has an enrollment of 130 students and they are lucky as the facility has plenty of space for them to enjoy.
She again applauds everyone's resilience.
"It has been a torrid time for everyone," she said.
"Coming off the bushfires was difficult for our local community and so we just felt this [COVID-19] was the next challenge for us.
"Our families have been under stress and done a really astounding job.
"We have a strong community here that is connected to the wider society.
"I have nothing but gratitude to our community for everything they have done for us."
Mrs Nelson said St Marys had received great support from its head office.
The principal added the flow of communication within the school has been wonderful.
"Our parents have been outstanding and been so supportive of us and really doing the best for the wellbeing of their kids because it's been stressful for everyone," she said.
The school staff has been upfront with the students, including explaining to them the importance of not spreading germs and doing simple things like washing their hands.
Mrs Nelson said they tried to get the message across in a positive way and they made sure they did not frighten the students.
"We just give the message they need to be safe and healthy and do things like coughing into their elbow," she said.
St Marys, like many other schools, has been taking a gradual approach to face-to-face teaching.
The return to schools has been staggered with different classes returning two days a week.
"This gave our teachers the chance to check in with our kids," the principal said.
The students were happy to return and some literally bounced back in.
As part of COVID-19 precautionary measures, parents have been asked to stay out the school grounds and not mingle during pick-up time.
Mrs Nelson said they remain on high alert when it comes to COVID-19 and follow safety precautions like social distancing among staff.
She added parents, given the limited timeframe warning, were brilliantly receptive when it came to remote learning programs.
Staff were also given the chance to identify themselves as being vulnerable under certain COVID-19 categories but they all want to get back to support the children.
"I think our teachers just really care about the kids," Mrs Nelson said.
All teachers have taken the 'how do we do this' approach to any of the challenges they had faced.