A southeast Queensland private boys school will today remain closed for deep cleaning and contact tracing, after a Year 11 student tested positive to COVID-19.

St Edmund’s College at Ipswich sent a letter to parents on Tuesday, saying Queensland Health had confirmed the case and the school would close for at least 48 hours.

“The young man is being properly cared for. Our prayers are with him and his family during this time and we wish him a speedy recovery,” the letter read.

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“This decision (to close) has been made in the interests of the health and safety of our broader community, and at this stage I expect the College to be closed for at least 48 hours while this initial work is being undertaken.”

Contact tracing work is underway by Queensland Health, with students, staff and parents told they will need to be tested if contacted.

It’s understood more details on the case will be provided by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young later this morning.

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It comes as Dr Young on Tuesday announced boarding school students from regional NSW and the ACT would be allowed to return home for the September school holidays, on a number of conditions.

Students will not have to quarantine upon their return to Queensland as long as they travel between school and their home by road and only if their residence is within a NSW or ACT local government area without a known COVID-19 case in the past four weeks.

The students will also have to stay within their properties for the entire holiday period, and no visitors are permitted to the homes as a condition of the quarantine exemption.

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Any student that returns to their Queensland boarding school from a local government area where there have been reported cases will still have to quarantine upon their return, either at the school or with a parent or guardian in a government-nominated hotel.

In a statement, the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association of Australia said the announcement was a “welcome relief”.

“ICPA Australia, ICPA Queensland and ICPA New South Wales have been working tirelessly to support families and find a workable solution to the impasse which had resulted from the border restrictions applied between the two states,” ICPA Qld President Tammie Irons said.

“The right decision has finally been made – it is disappointing that families have had to go through all this angst before our government has acknowledged their unique circumstances, however we are so relieved for all those families who can now be together these holidays, and thankful for a positive outcome at last.”

The border and quarantine exemptions apply to a parent or guardian who is driving into Queensland from either an ACT or NSW LGA with no known cases, to collect their child from a Queensland boarding school permitted they travel into and out of the state on the same day.

The direction from the Chief Health Officer said that the road transit would have to occur by the most direct route possible, and they would have to begin their return route on the same day.


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