“This year is different, this is not Schoolies as you know it.”
Many official and organised schoolies events have been scrapped due to coronavirus, but emergency services are still bracing for large numbers of outgoing high school students to flock to destinations across the country.
Less schoolies are expected on the Gold Coast compared with previous years, but police say they will be out in force monitoring gatherings and social distancing.
“This year is going to be completely different to every other year,” Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler.
“It’s important – really important – that no matter what people are doing this year, including young people, that they adhere to the Chief Health Officers directives.”
Some support services, such as a chill out zone and red frog volunteers, will still be available but organised activities, like the famous beach party, have been cancelled.
But some school leavers are determined to make their own fun.
Thousands of teenagers are set to camp out at popular spots on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
A week long Facebook event, dubbed the “Schoolies Bush Doof”, has been planned on Noosa North Shore and Teewah Beach.
Local police say they are aware of the party and are warning of a zero tolerance approach to any dangerous behaviour.
With the NSW and Queensland border now re-open to regional NSW, Byron Bay and its surrounding towns are also expecting an influx.
“We know this has been an extremely tough year for HSC students, and we appreciate that school leavers want to have a memorable time,” Superintendent Dave Roptell said.
“However, these are not normal times, so we ask anyone coming to the far North Coast to be respectful – we have come this far in managing COVID-19 in our regional communities, let’s not undo all our hard work now.”
Despite the warnings, police forces say school leavers are free to holiday anywhere as long as they adhere to the current rules.