National Cabinet reunites boarding students with their families

Travel for boarding students and their families will become easier following today’s endorsement by National Cabinet of the National Code for Boarding School Students.

The Code provides states and territories with principles to develop common-sense, COVID-safe travel arrangements to help students and their families navigate border restrictions. This will enable students to now plan their travel to return to their families, not only for school holidays, but also during school terms.

Minister for Regionalisation, Regional Communications and Regional Education Senator Bridget McKenzie urged all jurisdictions to implement arrangements as soon as possible to help facilitate travel during the Term 3 school holidays.

“I want to thank the states and territories for helping end the isolation and uncertainty being experienced by the more than 23,000 boarding students across the country. Many of these students are from regional and remote areas,” Senator McKenzie said.

“While border closures and intrastate travel restrictions have helped contain the spread of COVID-19, it has unintentionally left some boarding students isolated and unable to receive the support and care of family, causing additional stress and anxiety during what is already a difficult time.

“Today’s decision is a win for common-sense. The National Code takes a clear, compassionate and practical approach to supporting the travel needs of boarding school students.”

Particular consideration will be given to the complexities for Indigenous boarding students and the needs of their communities.

COVID-safe travel will remain the priority as part of the agreed national code, with movements to be via the most direct route between a boarding school and home, as well as the return trip.

Jurisdictions will be responsible for implementing the Code in line with the relevant health advice. Usually, around 1,600 students would cross a state or territory border to return home from boarding school for the Term 3 holiday period.

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