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    Elite girls’ school faces $10,000 fine over claims it broke Melbourne ‘ring of steel’

    Elite girls’ school faces $10,000 fine over claims it broke Melbourne’s ‘ring of steel’ to take students to its country campus – but the principal claims they did nothing wrong

    • Lauriston Girls’ School is being investigated over an alleged lockdown breach 
    • The exclusive Melbourne college charges about $36,000 a year in school fees 
    • Year Nine students were whisked to the rural Howqua campus on September 14  

    An elite private girls’ school in Victoria is being investigated after students were allegedly whisked to a remote country campus breaching the strict coronavirus restrictions. 

    Lauriston Girls’ School has a Melbourne campus and also a campus in the high country near Mount Buller called Howqua.  

    The city campus, located in the exclusive inner southeast suburb of Armadale, sent Year Nine students to the Howqua campus on September 16, according to the Herald Sun

    Lauriston Girls’ School (pictured) has a Melbourne campus and also a campus in the high country near Mount Buller called Howqua 

    Health workers are seen at a drive through testing clinic in Werribee in Victoria during lockdown in October (pictured)

    Health workers are seen at a drive through testing clinic in Werribee in Victoria during lockdown in October (pictured) 

    Metropolitan schools were not given permission to send students to country campuses – which were included in a ban on rural travel – as part of the city’s ‘Ring of Steel’. 

    Lauriston principal Susan Just said the Department of Health and Human Services informed the school students could return to Howqua on September 14 in line with the Regional Victoria Roadmap. 

    ‘Year nine teachers and students are extremely grateful to have returned to campus for an early start to Term 4,’ Ms Just said. 

    ‘Our students know only too well this is a privilege and appreciate this is yet to be experienced more widely among other students in Victoria’. 

    However, the department denies this – saying the school, which charges fees of about $36,000 a year, is under investigation over the alleged breach. 

    A penalty of $9,913 would apply if the school is found to have breached the restrictions. 

    Melbourne's "Ring of Steel" was designed to prevent the spread of coronavirus from the capital into regional areas where cases were scarce

    Melbourne’s ‘Ring of Steel’ was designed to prevent the spread of coronavirus from the capital into regional areas where cases were scarce 

    Victorian Police assisted by Army personnel enforced a strict "Ring of Steel" around Melbourne during lockdown preventing rural travel (pictured)

    Victorian Police assisted by Army personnel enforced a strict ‘Ring of Steel’ around Melbourne during lockdown preventing rural travel (pictured) 

    Ms Just said the Year Nine students were tested for COVID-19 before travelling to the campus and again 11 days after arriving. 

    They were also required to be temperature tested, adhere to social distancing and confined to the campus except for essential reasons.  

    Another elite Melbourne girls’ school, Methodist Ladies College in the suburb of Kew, had attempted to send Year Nine students to their Gippsland campus during lockdown. 

    They were knocked back by authorities with girls only returning to the campus called Marshmead this week as metropolitan restrictions are slowly eased. 

    Daily Mail Australia has contacted Lauriston Girls’ School and DHHS for comment.  

    The Howqua Campus (pictured) is where Year Nine students are typically sent for the entire year

    The Howqua Campus (pictured) is where Year Nine students are typically sent for the entire year 

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