Scots PGC battles to get boarders home for holidays
SCOTS PGC College has united with schools across the region in petitioning the State Government to give rural boarding students their school holidays at home.
The Warwick school joined eight others, including Toowoomba Grammar School, Downlands College, and The Glennie School in penning a letter to the state’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young.
The letter asked for border exemptions for boarding students and their families to enable them to return to NSW for school holidays without a mandatory quarantine period.
“Our fears are that students will have to remain at school, for the holidays, or that parents who rightfully want to see their children over the holidays will have to make tough decisions about schooling for Term 4 and into the future,” the letter said.
“And, of greater concern, is the mental health impact inherent in this dislocated arrangement.”
A Scots PGC spokeswoman said 35 of their 47 NSW boarding students live outside the current border bubble, and both options of homestaying with fellow students or putting them up on school grounds could prove costly to families.
“Closing the borders to regional families who by their very nature are isolated and quarantined in areas with no COVID-19 cases potentially causes well-being, educational and financial issues for our students and families,” she said.
“For these families who give so much to our country and region, it is important that the schools in our region fight for our students’ education as well as their social and emotional well-being.
“Throughout the pandemic, it could be argued that boarding schools and regional centres have been considered an afterthought in putting restrictions and rules in place.”
A clause in the Chief Health Officer’s latest directive suggested NSW residents could enter Queensland for schooling, though confusion remains for students, families, and schools alike.
Member for the Southern Downs James Lister said he had fought hard for more such border exemptions, with bureaucracy to blame for ongoing confusion .
“If students are still having problems, it is a symptom of the failure of the system to put into operation and into practical effect what the Chief Health Officer has said,” Mr Lister said.
“Even though it’s only a case of this not catching up, there is still more to be done, and that’s to provide a mirror service for Queensland people to drop their kids off at NSW boarding schools.”