COVID-19 has exacerbated some of the challenges already faced by boarding schools and boarding school students. AHPPC issued advice on 2 May 2020, risk management for boarding schools and school-based residential colleges.
AHPPC supports the safe return of students to their homes and families during school holidays. AHPPC recognises there may be differences for students travelling to or from areas with community transmission. Several jurisdictions including Queensland and the Northern Territory, have implemented appropriate risk-based approaches and class exemptions to support the return of affected students and staff. AHPPC supports all jurisdictions in adopting these approaches and class exemptions in order to facilitate students moving across borders for this purpose. Responsibility for decisions regarding border exemptions ultimately lie with the Chief Health Officer for the relevant state or territory.
AHPPC recognises that the issues are more complex for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boarding students who seek to return to their homes in remote communities. As a class exemption is unlikely to yield appropriate outcomes, these exemptions should continue to be managed on a case-by-case basis. Noting many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boarding students attend school interstate, AHPPC recognises the importance of dialogue and cooperation between the relevant jurisdictions.
Ahead of the return of students for next term, AHPPC recommends that facilities consult with their jurisdictional education department and review advice provided in the risk management for boarding schools and school-based residential colleges.
Read previous statements from the AHPPC.