Port Macquarie resident Ellen Crepaz says there needs to be more support for families to ensure they aren't at a disadvantage if they are forced to isolate due to a COVID school closure.
"We are exhausting Australian families because we are taking away options, including annual leave from them, because we have to isolate with our young children," she said.
The Crepaz family has been isolating at home for two weeks, as the youngest member of their household, Alessandro returned a positive result for COVID-19.
All members of the family went to get tested after they received an email from Tacking Point Public School, advising them one of their community members had returned a positive COVID-19 test.
The NSW Department of Education has identified more than 270 schools and 300 childcare centres across the state which have closed since lockdown ended.
According to the Minister for Education and Youth Alan Tudge, National Cabinet is working with the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) to develop a nationally consistent framework for the use of Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) in a range of education settings.
Regions with some of the highest vaccination rates of residents aged 15 years and over are grappling with COVID-19 cases in schools and kindergartens where students are not yet eligible for a vaccine.
On November 10, Mid North Coast Local Health District chief executive Stewart Dowrick said over 50 per cent of active COVID-19 cases in the region are people aged under the age of 16.
Mrs Crepaz, her husband Peter and her eldest son Toreno have all returned negative test results for the virus.
Mrs Crepaz has been caring for Alessandro, who is seven-years-old, at home but he has experienced mild symptoms.
She's had to take leave to care for her son over the past two weeks and is seeking financial support from government services.
Throughout the lockdown, Mrs Crepaz credited her employer as being incredibly supportive.
However, she said not all workplaces are equal when it comes to the issue.
"What I would like to see is the government talking with employers about not making employees using their own leave in order to survive," she said.
"Most employees only get four weeks of annual leave a year."
"How are we meant to cope when two of those weeks were spent in isolation?"
Mrs Crepaz noted there were grey areas when it came to the isolation rules.
During the period of isolation, Mrs Crepaz sought medical attention for a condition not related to COVID-19.
As she was a close contact to Alessandro, she wasn't able to seek medical attention from a general practitioner and would have had to be transported to the hospital by ambulance.
"I didn't want to put strain on the health system when it's already under so much pressure at the moment," she said.
However, she could have accessed essential services for clothes, groceries or medicine, if required.
Mrs Crepaz said micro lockdowns, such as a school closure are detrimental to families.
"Families need to come up with other ways of how to earn an income, when they can't access that through their employer because they've exhausted all their leave," she said.
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