Some boarding school students exempt from quarantine
BOARDING school students will now be exempt from two-week isolation periods after claims they had been forgotten in the back-to-school rush, but the cap on the number of pupils means some students will still be left behind.
The Queensland Chief Health officer allowed 14-day isolation exemptions for boarders who have been in the Northern Territory for 14 days before entering Queensland, have been isolated on a rural or remote property for two weeks in a local government area with no known cases, or who live within 200km within the state's border.
The changes were announced on Monday, after The Courier-Mail revealed there boarding school parents felt their children had been left in limbo in the back to school rush.
It comes as Department of Education figures reveal 83 per cent of Prep and Year 1, 11 and 12 students and 21 per cent of Years 2-10 students attended school yesterday.
The Isolated Children's Parents Association of NSW president Claire Butler welcomed the eased quarantine restrictions, but said there was still the problem of only some students being allowed to return.
The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee guidelines include reducing the amount of students in boarding houses, using single rooms or only a quarter of students in dormitory accommodation, limiting shared bathrooms, staggering dining times and reducing home visits.
"We can understand the reasons around that because living in close quarters in a proximity environment, there is greater risk," she said.
"But whether or not this 25 per cent figure, whether it could be raised to 50 per cent, especially for regional boarding schools that most of their intake would be children from rural and remote areas that have low risk of being exposed to COVID-19."
LNP leader Deb Frecklington said the Opposition had heard from many concerned families, and that children shouldn't be disadvantaged because they live in the bush.
"We are still hearing from many rural families with concerns about their kid's education being left behind as a result of Labor's confusing and unfair rules around boarding schools and the arbitrary 25 per cent quota," she said.
Year 12 student at Clayfield College from Kununurra in Western Australia said she was relieved when the quarantine restriction was lifted.
"I'm very excited to be back at school to be in a learning environment with face-to-face teachers," she said.
"I think not having the community here, it doesn't feel the same," she said.
Originally published as The boarding school students exempt from quarantine