Victorian Year 11 and 12 students will begin exams in early November and have their results by the end of the year, ending weeks of uncertainty.
During the height of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown in Victoria, there were concerns students would be undertaking exams in early 2021, which could have had the potential to disrupt higher education plans.
But Education Minister James Merlino on Friday confirmed Victorian Certificate of Education exams will start on November 9 and finish by December 2, about two weeks later than the original, pre-pandemic completion date.
It means students will have their Australian tertiary admission rank this year and university offers at the same time as students across the country.
"This provides much-needed certainty for our Year 12 students who have done it tough this year and their families," Mr Merlino told reporters on Friday.
"They can celebrate finalising their Year 12 before the end of the year, enjoy the summer break and then plan for their futures.
"It will mean no disadvantage for Victorian students in terms of university and other pathways."
The announcement comes as Year 11 and 12 students - as well as Prep, Year 1 and Year 2 - prepare to return to the classroom on May 26, following nearly six weeks of online learning.
As of Friday, 10,000 school staff had been tested for COVID-19 and had all been cleared.
There are about 80,000 teachers registered across the state.
Carlton Gardens Primary School Principal Tina McDougall said the transition to face-to-face learning would be smooth if everyone cooperates.
"We should be okay if everybody just follows the procedures and protocols that have been put into place," she told AAP, noting the school will have staggered start and finishing times with parents dropping their children at the gate.
"We're limiting the number of adults that are coming into the building."
Ms McDougall said the school will have an on-site nurse to check temperatures and educate children on hand hygiene.
"We are really looking forward to seeing the kids again," she said.
Victoria recorded another 12 infections on Friday, bringing the state's total to 1593.
Five of the new cases are related to an outbreak at Cedar Meats in Melbourne's west, bringing the number of cases linked to the abattoir to 111.
Four returned travellers in hotel quarantine also tested positive, while two other new cases were detected through the community screening program.
Another case remains under investigation.
About 93 coronavirus cases in Victoria remain active, with 10 people in hospital, including five in intensive care.
SAFE, STAGGERED RETURN TO SCHOOL:
* From May 26: Prep, Grades 1 and 2, specialist, VCE and VCAL students will return to on-site learning
* From June 9: All remaining students from Years 3 to 10 to return
* Immunocompromised students can keep learning from home, vulnerable staff won't be required on campus
* Up to $45 million will be spent on enhanced cleaning at government schools
* Staggered drop-off and pick-up times, staggered break times to minimise risk