Adam Marshall’s COVID-19 update as at 5pm, Friday, September 11

The region’s high school students and their parents are rejoicing on two fronts this week, with a COVID-19 travel exemption now in place for NSW students attending boarding school in Queensland and news Year 12 formals and graduation ceremonies will go ahead in Term 4.

The Queensland boarding school exemption, which is a huge relief for a number of rural and remote families, allows NSW students from Local Government Areas (LGA) with no active coronavirus cases to cross the border for holidays then return to school without having to self-isolate for 14 days.

As I have been calling for over a number of weeks, it appears the Queensland Premier is finally seeing the benefit of applying border restrictions by LGA instead of postcode, with the exemption applicable to LGAs which haven’t had a confirmed case of COVID-19 for a period of four weeks.

There are a number of strict guidelines which have been set out for the exemption to apply, with students unable to leave their primary place of residence once they arrive and no visitors are permitted to attend the residence during their stay.

Should either of these requirements be breached students will be made self-isolate at their boarding school or a nominated residence on their return to Queensland.

Students, parents and guardians travelling into Queensland must have a copy of a letter from their school confirming the child’s enrolment, statutory declaration confirming primary place of residence and adherence to restrictions, student ID and evidence of parents or guardian’s identity – a Queensland Border Declaration Pass is not required.

Again, I thank all parents who took the time to contact me about this issue, your correspondence was invaluable in placing pressure on the Queensland Government.

As has been the case right throughout this border saga I welcome these common sense decisions as they are made and will continue to fight to have the Moree Plains, Gwydir, Inverell, Glen Innes Severn and Tenterfield Shires added to the border bubble.

The State Government has this week released guidelines to support planning for the Higher School Certificate (HSC) written exams, which start on 20 October.

The guidelines, developed in consultation with NSW Health, have been issued to principals by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA), who are responsible for the HSC, and focus on minimising disruption to students if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 at their school.

In their planning, schools have been asked to consider:

Prioritising a section of the school for rapid cleaning as well as having an alternative venue on standby;

Developing exam day protocols including health screening, in line with sector or school policies and protocols; and

Recruiting additional exam supervisors.

The guidelines to Principals have asked to limit student numbers to 75 students per exam room, limit HSC student interaction with the rest of the school and prioritise cleaning for exam venues.

Schools have done an outstanding job in supporting their HSC students this year and the Class of 2020 have worked exceptionally hard under these circumstances.

In recognition of that hard work, COVID-19 safe graduation ceremonies and formals will being allowed in Term 4, with schools receiving the COVID-19 safety plan guidance for these events from today, September 11.

This weekend marks the start of finals in a number of local winter sporting codes. While this is an exciting time of year, I do ask spectators please co-operate and follow COVID-19 measures being implemented to keep the venues safe.

In regards to the latest COVID-19 figures, there are 146 active cases in NSW, with NO cases in the Northern Tablelands electorate.