Glen Innes business owner Jacqui Cave and husband Matt have both been forced to emigrate to Queensland by that state's hard border policy.
Like scores of families, their kids board at a Queensland private school and traditionally return for holidays.
The situation is putting "enormous pressure" on their business and their lives - keeping them away from their home for months on end.
With September holidays fast approaching, the family is in the same boat they were 12 months ago, Mrs Cave said - but this time it's much harder.
The Queensland state government announced on the weekend it would insist on boarders undertaking a two-week quarantine on their return to the sunshine state, at their own expense.
"It's terribly frustrating, it's very, very stressful. And sadly it is having an effect," she said.
"These boarding kids need to go home, they need a break. That's what they look forward to so much by end of term. They'll tell you all they want is to go home to their farm, that's all they want to do."
Their local MP, Member for Northern Tablelands, Adam Marshall, this week demanded the state government allow parents to bring home their stranded kids for the upcoming holiday break.
He said the rule "makes it almost impossible for students to come home for their two-week holiday as they will miss two weeks of school on their return and be up for thousands of dollars in additional costs to quarantine."
Most border communities, including Glen Innes, are completely COVID-19 free. Some communities like Moree have never had a single active case during the entire pandemic.
"This is yet another example of the callous, blunt instrument approach by the Queensland Government to sensitive border restriction measures," Mr Marshall said, slamming the policy as "punitive".
"This is not about 'keeping Queensland safe for Queenslanders', it's simply a lazy, heartless and unnecessary way of playing domestic politics," he said.
The MP wrote to the Queensland Premier asking for leniency for boarders, and to the NSW government to ask for a release for zero-COVID border communities from the state lockdown, in order to strengthen the case for a border bubble zone.
Mrs Cave said many families from remote properties had committed to signing statutory declarations undertaking not to go within hundreds of kilometres of another soul during the holiday period, to no avail.
"It's really quite ludicrous. All the boarders have had at least their first Pfizer vaccination," she said.
"Everyone I've spoken to has also said that they would be prepared to have COVID tests before they came back. That hasn't even been entertained by Queensland Health."
The Queensland government was contacted for comment on this story.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
- Bookmark northerndailyleader.com.au
- Make sure you are signed up for our breaking and regular headlines newsletters
- Follow us on Twitter
- Follow us on Instagram
- Follow us on Google News