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ABSTUDY travel for boarding students due to COVID-19

The Department of Social Services has prepared this advice on ABSTUDY student travel, in the context of the current challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak. it has been circulated to all boarding providers with ABSTUDY students. The key points are as follows:

    • ABSTUDY will support students to travel home early and the associated funding to the school will continue to
    • Tertiary students in receipt of ABSTUDY will also be eligible for supported travel but yearly travel limits for Fare Allowance will still apply. Individuals facing hardship due to the virus may be considered eligible for additional assistance on a case by case
    • Boarding schools present an increased risk of transmission of COVID-19 due to close and shared living
    • Any decision to close boarding facilities and send students home is a matter for the boarding providers in consultation with relevant state health and education authorities, land councils and community
    • Boarding schools and providers are responsible for ensuring Safe Travel Plans are in place for each student. Plans must cover off contingencies given the fluid situation such as a student becoming stranded or safe and suitable arrangements if students need to self-isolate.
    • Where students are wanting to return to remote communities, the schools or boarding facilities should put strategies in place to manage risks (for both the student and the receiving community) as agreed by relevant authorities and community leaders. Schools are encouraged to provide learning materials to keep the students engaged in education during any extended breaks from school.
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