Restrictions lifted for boarders

By Ashleigh Fielding | posted on May 21, 2020

RESTRICTIONS likened to “prison” standards in residential boarding facilities were lifted last week in time for all students to return to now-compulsory school classes.

Last week the Weekender published a story on Great Southern boarding families refusing to send their children back to boarding school due to “unkind” home visit restrictions, and soon after Premier Mark McGowan and Education Minister Sue Ellery announced that all students could now return to boarding facilities and were allowed weekend home visits.

Previously, only Year 10, 11 and 12 students were allowed to return to enable boarding colleges to adhere to social distancing rules, and all home visits during term were prohibited.

Ms Ellery told the Weekender that all agricultural and residential colleges would be working directly with families regarding the return of students.

“Parents will not be able to enter the school sites to remain consistent with parents not entering school sites,” she said.

“However, residential college managers and agricultural college principals will continue to manage parent visit requests using their discretion.

“They will be able to accommodate requests for short-term contact visits, for example, to attend an appointment, go for a walk or catch up.

“In line with Australian Health Protection Principal Committee advice to reduce out of facility visits, students may only leave on the weekend, at the discretion of the principal or residential manager.”

Students who have medical advice stating they are unable to attend school will continue to be supported at home.

“Additional measures will be put in place to assist these students through the existing specialist unit, School of Special Educational Needs: Medical and Mental Health, with up to 20 additional teachers to provide learning support for these students,” Ms Ellery said.