Relief as boarder day trips allowed

Headshot of Kellie Balaam
Kellie BalaamNarrogin Observer
WA College of Agriculture—Narrogin.
Camera IconWA College of Agriculture—Narrogin. Credit: Laura Grubisa/Laura Grubisa

The decision to lift restrictions on regional boarding students leaving residential school facilities has brought relief to Wheatbelt families.

Last week Education Minister Sue Ellery announced boarding students would be able to return home with the approval of their principal or residential facility manager.

Students at the WA College of Agriculture — Narrogin will now be able to return home for weekends at the discretion of principal Stephen Watt.

According to Mr Watt, the intent of the restriction was to reduce the number of occasions on which students left the college and interacted with adults to reduce the chances of bringing any infection back to the residence.

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“Boarding students may leave the residence during the week and weekends for appointments and to meet up with family members for catch-up visits out of the immediate residential area,” Mr Watt said in last week’s college newsletter.

“Residential staff will still transport students to appointments as usual.”

However, boarding students are unable to leave the college during the week for part-time work to reduce interactions with adults and to reduce the risk of bringing an infection back to the college.

Nationals WA leader Mia Davies welcomed the relaxation of the restrictions, saying the rule had caused considerable anxiety for regional families.

“As soon as the guidelines were set down by the State Government we had parents telling us they would prefer to keep their kids at home rather than have them locked away for nine weeks,” she said.

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