Students who go to school in Goondiwindi but live in NSW shouldn't become lost in a bureaucratic quagmire due to COVID restrictions.
The Goondiwindi Regional Council Mayor, Cr Lawrence Springborg AM has written to the Queensland Minister of Education, Grace Grace, requesting support to ensure equal education for Queensland students, regardless of whether they reside in New South Wales or Queensland.
They are concerned Queensland students who live in NSW are being left behind due to a disparity between NSW and Queensland education systems in the time of COVID and border lockdowns.
"NSW have moved to an online learning model and have implemented the necessary systems and processes to ensure that every student has a quality learning experience," Cr Springborg AM said.
"In contrast, Goondiwindi schools have had to operate a hybrid model of face-to-face learning for Queensland students, and online learning for NSW students.
He said a better solution is needed if border restrictions are to remain in place for an extended period of time.
"There are many students in our border community who are based in NSW but usually access schooling in Queensland.
'"What we're hearing from the community is that the online learning experience of NSW students is challenging, given the different circumstances in either state.
"Education is absolutely essential and we need to ensure that students in our border community are able to access the same quality of education as students elsewhere," he said.
"While the current model may have sufficed for one or two weeks, it certainly won't be acceptable for the kind of timeframes we are facing, with the NSW Government indicating that there will not be a return to full face-to-face schooling until at least November and this may be reflected for NSW students attending QLD Schools.
"This is in no way a criticism of our local teachers, who have the full support of this Council.
"I hope I speak on behalf of our whole community when I say we are extremely grateful to them for all the hard work and extra hours that are certainly involved in trying to accommodate changing restrictions and in catering to some students in-person at the same time as some students online.
"This is about ensuring they have the support and systems in place to enable them to educate local children as effectively and fairly as possible.
"We're also aware of some cases where teachers in Queensland schools have been impacted by the NSW lockdown - there's an opportunity here to utilise them as an additional resource, and I have raised this with the Minister."
Cr Springborg reminded NSW residents that vulnerable children and children of essential workers, and an adult that may transport the child, may enter Queensland to attend face-to-face schooling or to attend a childcare facility under the Border Restrictions Direction (No. 39) part 2 section 7a.
Council is also advocating for children of essential workers to be able to access school bus services.
Under the current Border Restrictions Direction, examples of a specialist or essential worker include agricultural operations necessary to maintain food supply. For more information, visit: https://www.health.qld.gov.au/system-governance/legislation/cho-public-health-directions-under-expanded-public-health-act-powers/border-restrictions