Northern NSW students who are boarding in Queensland have been given the go-ahead to return home in the school holidays.

The state’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young issued an exemption for primary and secondary school students to return home after finishing their studies next Friday, so long as their primary place of residence had no active cases of COVID-19.

Social media has been flooded with messages, both urging and supporting the need to be able to let the children return home.

Students who feared they would be stranded in Queensland held placards pleading with the state government to show some leniency.

Halle Rooney, of Narrabri, the daughter of Louise Barwick and Adam Rooney, is studying in Queensland and was one of the students to take her message to the public.

“My hometown is Narrabri, NSW. I have only seen my baby brother once since he was born. I miss my family,” her sign read.

Braith Rohde, of Wee Waa, issued a similar call-out.

“I need to prepare for ATAR. This year has been hard enough, I just want to go home,” his message read.

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After issuing a heartfelt plea in an open letter to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, which was recently published in The Courier and Wee Waa News, Mel Crockett was relieved to learn she would soon be reunited with her 12-year-old daughter.

“I’m just so excited. I’m pleased that common sense has come to the table,” she said.

“We are ecstatic that our little girl is coming home.”

She said she spoke to her daughter after the decision was made public on Tuesday.

“She has been really brave about the whole thing. It is one less thing for her to worry about,” she said.

“She is back to her happy, cheery self and not having to worry about adult issues.”

Mrs Crockett, who was elected as the publicity officer for the Namoi branch of the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association this week, spoke to mothers of other year seven children following the announcement.

“It was a general sense of relief,” she said of her talks with other mothers.

At the annual general meeting of the association held at the Tourist Hotel in Narrabri on Tuesday, just hours before news broke that border restrictions for boarders would be eased, other mothers explained that students returning to their parents’ remote properties posed no threat to Queensland.

After the meeting, Mrs Crockett said her daughter kept asking when she could return home.

“We just want her home, we haven’t seen her for so long,” she said.

“She just needs to come home to the farm and have some space.”

People Power leads to results! The NSW kids who attend school in Queensland can now come home and will not be forced…

Posted by Roy Butler MP on Monday, 7 September 2020

Member for Barwon Roy Butler welcomed the announcement and said that parents would be able to go to Queensland and collect their children for the school holidays.

“On return to Queensland they won’t be required to quarantine provided they’ve stayed at home during the break,” he said.

“My Narrabri team and I have been on the phone a number of times a day to the Queensland government appealing to them to change the rules to allow these families to be able to reunite.”

“Since early August we’ve worked with the Isolated Children’s Parents Association, Country Women’s Association branches and individual parents to get this result – the people power has really paid off; it’s a huge relief for parents and families right across NSW.”

The ICPA’s NSW state president Claire Butler said the news had come exactly at the right time, ensuring certainty and clarity for families as the October school holidays approached.

“This announcement is a huge relief to our parents and their children, we understand caution with the current pandemic, but these children never posed a threat to health in the first place and we are very pleased their education will now continue without unnecessary disruption and anxiety,” she said.

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