For some Illawarra families, the thought of returning to school is plagued with anxiety and fear after NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet announced his plan to gets students back into classrooms.
Albion Park mother-of-two Donna Beer is worried about her children catching COVID when they return to high school for term one.
Mrs Beer's husband Andrew is immunocompromised and the family have taken considerable efforts and made sacrifices to not bring COVID-19 into their home - which has included doing all of their shopping online, foregoing social and family events and essentially becoming "recluses".
It has been very tough on the family - especially the children aged 14 and 12 who are about to go into Years 10 and 8 - but they don't want to risk Andrew's life.
So when Mrs Beer heard students would return to the classroom rather than go back to home schooling, she was filled with anxiety.
"Now the kids are going back to school with a high amount of cases in the community and it scares me," she said. "For my son, he is now thinking about if he was too come home and have a positive RAT test he might kill his Dad which is horrible for him to have to consider."
Mrs Beer said she wanted her children to go back to school as she knew it was important for their mental health and social interaction, but she hoped the government actually provided the rapid antigen testing kits as announced.
She said she would feel better once she had the RAT kits given to her by the school.
On Sunday, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said work was already underway to distribute RATs to the state's 3000 schools.
Each student will have access to two RATs per week as term one commences on schedule, as will teachers.
In early childhood education and childcare centres, there will be RATs provided for teachers.
This twice-a-week testing will be undertaken for the first four weeks for term, with two weeks supply of RATs to be distributed before term starts.
Masks will be compulsory in high school classrooms for both teachers and students, while they will be highly recommended for students in Year 3 and above in primary schools.
Mrs Beer was also concerned because not all NSW schools had air purifiers so windows and doors had to be kept open for ventilation.
"Another concern is that if there is a positive case in my kids' class then they aren't considered close contacts and to go to school as normal," she said.
Mrs Beer also wanted clarity as to how teachers or authorities would make sure students were doing the tests and completing them correctly.
"I understand children have to go back to school as it is better for their education but it doesn't stop us being very anxious for our household," she said.
"I don't feel like the government has prioritised the health of vulnerable people when they said 'let it rip'. They have put the economy first."
Albion Park mum of teenagers Rach did not support children going back to school when overall case number, hospitalisations and patients in ICU were so high.
"We are throwing kids into a 'COVID soup' and those kids are going to come home and make their parents and grandparents sick," she said.
Rach was pleased the government would be giving out RATs but wanted a bigger push for children to wear N95 masks.
She was still concerned students would infect others in the days before a positive RAT was done. She also didn't understand why music lessons and assemblies would be allowed when they weren't last year given the lower case numbers.
Woonona's Sarah Nicholson, who has two primary school aged kids and one in high school, felt the state government had squandered the two years of the pandemic and the time spent in lockdown when they could have been setting up ventilation in classrooms.
"It really does not seem that they have adequately set up classrooms so that they are safe for our kids and their teachers to return to," she said.
"We all know that open air is best, but just saying they will keep classrooms doors and windows open isn't enough. What happens when it rains? Or when we start to move into winter and a new variant hits?
"The Victorian government invested in thousands of HEPA air filters for their public classrooms, why hasn't NSW?"
Some Illawarra parents took Facebook to raise their concerns.
Erin Thomas Barnes said her daughter started Kindergarten this year and it was "a nightmare trying to test her for COVID the few times I've had to. Not looking forward to that".
Tamara Cabo said her children were happy to be tested.
"I would rather know. My two school kids are also OK with it from what they told me. I think they are more excited to be back at school," she said.
Brittney Lawrence said her son was going into Year 5 and suffers from bad nose bleed along with other health problem.
"He is saying he isn't going to school if he has to do the tests. I'm not the smartest and have my own health problems so home schooling isn't really an option for us," she said. "My six year old is happy to do it as he loves school and wants to go back but at the end of the day, I will not force my kids to do it."
Greg Butto noted the tests relied on the person or child to correctly take the sample and to report the result.
"Faced with a week off work with a sick kid some parents will have to fake the result and send the kid to school," he said.
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