Boarding school families, principals, the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association, NSW politicians and other community groups are urging the Queensland premier to ease COVID-19 restrictions for interstate boarding school students.
Students who go home to NSW during the next school holidays will have to quarantine for two weeks upon their return to Queensland.
Concerns regarding the mental and financial cost of the restrictions have prompted many families to write to the Queensland government.
Below is an open letter to the Queensland Premier from Tom and Melinda Crockett, who live on a farm about 40 kilometres from Wee Waa.
Our daughter Molly is in Year 7 and is a boarder in Queensland.
We live on a farm in north west NSW. We are 120kms from the Queensland border.
Our closest neighbour lives over 5km away from us.
We live 40 kilometres from our closest town which has a population of 1500 people.
Our shire has had no cases of COVID-19 and yet we are declared a hot spot by the Queensland government.
This unfounded declaration is preventing our 12-year-old daughter from coming home during the school holidays.
This year has already been so disruptive for our daughter.
This year our daughter started Year 7 as a boarder, however towards the end of Term 1 due to COVID-19 restrictions, the school term ended early and she came home to the farm.
Term 2 was completed as an online student.
We were all incredibly excited when she was able to return to boarding school in Term 3.
Due to the current restrictions we will not be able to see our daughter till the end of Term 4, that will be 20 weeks since we have seen our 12-year-old daughter.
It will be five months since she has been able to have a hug from mum, ride a motor bike with dad and tease her little brother.
We all miss her and are devastated to hear that we won’t be seeing her in the school holidays.
Rural people are already disadvantaged in so many ways, we seem to draw the short straw so often and yet we soldier on without making a fuss, well not this time. We are being separated from our children and being disadvantaged with no valid reason.
I invite Ms Palaszczuk and Dr Young to come to our farm and while surrounded by crops, sheep and cattle for as far as you can see, they can tell us to our faces that we are living in a hot spot, and our daughter coming home to isolate on our rural property will be a danger to Queensland people.
Please let us continue to support the Queensland economy by granting rural, isolated parents the exemptions to get their kids back to
school for Term 4 without the need to quarantine. Regards
Tom and Melinda Crockett