Virus plan needed for boarding schools

Governments must start planning for students returning to school across state borders to avoid the chaos of 2020, a Nationals senator has warned.

NSW Nationals senator Perin Davey was inundated with concerns last year from families seeking exemptions for students to cross borders to attend school.

She said the uncertainty caused unnecessary stress on students and their families.

“We also had the ridiculous scenario where some small regional schools had their operations thrown into turmoil because they had teachers living on the wrong side of a border, yet less than 50km away,” Senator Davey said on Wednesday.

She was concerned confusion already reigns on the NSW-Victorian border because the closure was put in place before some local government area exemptions and agricultural workers permits were devised.

“I heard of a group of grape pickers packing up and leaving their jobs in NSW when just four days later the Victorian government announced an agricultural worker permit,” she said.

“We cannot leave the planning for school communities to the last minute. Families need to know what they need to do to ensure their children can go to school,” she said.

She has called for a consistent and clear approach across states.

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