A WARRNAMBOOL principal has told students they have a "civic responsibility" to practice social distancing to stem the spread of coronavirus as school holidays began nearly a week early.
Premier Daniel Andrews brought forward Victoria's term one public school holidays to give teachers the time to prepare for remote learning should it be needed next term.
Warrnambool College principal David Clift told students finishing the term on Monday that they were at a "pivot point" safeguarding community health.
"I do not want them to take this as an opportunity to do their own thing and hang out with mates," Mr Clift said.
"This is not the time for planning get-togethers, it's the time for bunkering down in our homes."
He said everyone had a "civic responsibility" to "stop the spread of the coronavirus in the Warrnambool community".
"We can make great choices now that can help us mitigate a disaster," Mr Clift said.
Teachers will now use the remainder of the week to prepare remote learning if school wasn't to resume in term two.
"Some teachers are preparing work for the students that may need to be sent home with them," Mr Clift said.
"We are cognisant from school closures overseas of the importance of not having overbearing expectations on students given everything we are trying to manage."
Private school King's College Warrnambool has also called student holidays early.
"Being an independent we can make our choices. But we would always follow what is happening in the government schools," principal Allister Rouse said.
"Any days lost to schooling are never helpful. At the moment schools aren't closing it is just an extension of the school holidays. We will be setting homework for our students to complete in that time, that will hopefully make up for some lost time."
Warrnambool's Emmanuel College also finished term one on Monday.
"Our staff are working on the possibility of needing to put a virtual school into place from the start of next term," principal Peter Morgan said.
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