Parents of more than 300 Kinross students were told they had less than 24 hours to collect their children as the school chose to close its boarder accommodation the day Orange was sent into lockdown.
An email sent out to all parents and carers from the school at 8pm, Tuesday, July 20 and seen by the Central Western Daily said of those boarding families: "Parents are asked to make arrangements to collect your child from the boarding house as soon as possible.
"If you are located closer to Orange and able to collect your child tonight, please do so. The boarding houses will close at 3pm tomorrow, Wednesday, July 21. You will need to make arrangements to collect your child by this time."
The email added those collecting students would have to remain in the vehicles while also wearing a mask. Orange's lockdown began on July 21.
A parent of a non-boarding student who we chose to keep anonymous said: "As far as I understand from the boarders who are friends with my child and the two boarder parents I have spoken to, the situation was chaotic, with such a short time given for parents to collect their children.
"They were worried about having to come to Orange after the lockdown order was made and then having to return to their COVID-free communities.
"Most of the KWS boarders come from rural and remote areas which have limited health services. I understand some parents and boarders are now isolating in those communities."
Asked about the short turnaround, a spokeswoman for Kinross said: "Since the pandemic began we have alerted boarding parents that they must have a contingency plan for collecting their children at short notice in the event of a school closure.
"If a parent was genuinely unable to respond in time, arrangements would be made for the care of the student until collection was possible."
Principal, Dr Andrew Parry said the decision to close the school for the duration of the seven day lockdown period was made to protect students, staff and families.
"As the school is not associated with any cases, the decision to close for the lockdown period gives us the opportunity for the orderly return of boarding students into the care of their families," he said.
"It also ensures that our boarders and their families will not need to navigate a lockdown zone and the attendant isolation requirements in order to see each other."
Dr Parry said travelling to attend education was a "reasonable excuse" for travel under COVID restrictions. The school pivoted to remote learning from July 22 as well as providing care for children of essential services workers.
"To protect students by limiting their contact with the wider community, boarders have been restricted in their movements off campus since the start of Term 3 and, before leaving for home, the school established that no boarders had visited the venues of concern listed for Orange," he added.
He added that the school informed students that they would continue to be subject to Stay-at-Home restrictions on returning home.
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