Release type: Media Release

Date:

Outcomes from Regional Boarding School Roundtable

Ministers:

The Hon Andrew Gee MP
Minister for Decentralisation and Regional Education
Minister Assisting the Minister for Trade and Investment

“Today, I met with peak boarding school representatives across Australia to discuss border closures and their impact on regional boarding schools, students and their families.

Schools are safe environments. Boarding schools are already following Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) guidelines for example, they have COVID safe plans in place.

With school holidays just around the corner, the Coalition Government is working with the states and territories on solutions.

The Federal Government welcomed moves from the Queensland Government to provide exemptions to ensure boarding school students from NSW and ACT could be with their families these school holidays. We hope further solutions in Queensland and other states can be applied to manage the remaining concerns of families.

Boarding school representatives reported problems because of the inconsistent application of border restrictions. They spoke of schools staying open throughout holidays this year which is not great outcome for schools, students or staff. Many parents are also electing instead to keep their children closer to home and not returning them to their schools.

Boarding school families are not looking for open slather. They want to be COVID safe: they want their kids and communities to remain COVID safe.

Families are seeking a range of compassionate, caring and common-sense solutions such as applying public health guidelines for boarding school students, who are adversely affected by the boarder restrictions.  This also includes allowing age appropriate quarantining and travel arrangements to allow students to return home and back to school.

I know that the Prime Minister and my Ministerial colleagues are working very hard on these issues and are in constant contact with their State and Territory Ministers.

We all welcome that collaboration as it is fundamental to a solution that will see us through not just for these school holidays, but also into 2021.”