Boarding school students face 14 days' quarantine if they leave Queensland for holidays

Hunter Warby, aged 13, attends boarding school in Queensland but his family lives in northern NSW. (Supplied: Kate Warby)

Students from NSW at boarding school in Queensland face the prospect of quarantining for 14 days if they return home for the school holidays.

Queensland considers all of New South Wales a COVID-19 hotspot, which means people can only enter the state for a limited number of essential reasons such as medical care and essential shopping.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young has issued an exemption that will allow students to re-enter the state if they spend the school holidays at home.

But unlike last year, they must quarantine for 14 days upon their return, either in a private residence, at their chosen school, or in a government-run facility.

Border closure 'all too much'

The decision has prompted concern for the welfare of children who have spent long periods away from home without seeing family, due to the current NSW lockdown.

Kate Warby from the Moree branch of the Isolated Children's Parents' Association said many parents were undecided about whether they could bring their children home.

Others, she said, might not send their children back when the holidays finished.

"They're bringing their kids home, and there's every chance that these children will not return for term four," she said.

Ms Warby said most parents did not have the time or money to spend 14 days in quarantine in Queensland, and many boarding schools were also unable to provide a space for students to quarantine.

The Warby family will be reunited in the coming weeks. (Supplied: Kate Warby)

But she said, despite the challenges, she would be bringing home her 13-year-old son, Hunter.

"We were up in the air about what to do but we've made the decision he's coming home … he needs to reset and recharge," Ms Warby said.

Harvest complications

Justin and Lorroi Kirkby farm at Gravesend near Moree, and will not bring home their two sons who are at a boarding school in Toowoomba.

Mr Kirkby described the new rules as "ridiculous" and said farming families would be unable to spend two weeks quarantining in Queensland.

"We live in hope that [another decision] will happen between now and next week."

Lorroi Kirkby said it was heartbreaking to tell her children they could not return for the holidays.

"Our middle son, who is in year eight, as soon as he heard about the quarantining he rang me and said 'I'm coming home, I don't care'," she said.

"It's an emotional rollercoaster … it's so hard to say no, you can't come home."

The Queensland school term ends next Friday.


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