The start of the school year will look a little different for Tacking Point Public School students Karli and Mitchell Goyne.
In line with NSW Health measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the Port Macquarie residents will be subjected to two Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) each week.
Karli, Mitchell and their mother Honni Goyne are supportive of the safety measure.
"I don't think there's too much they could have done differently, other than give parents the option of keeping their children at home," Mrs Goyne said.
"I want them to be able to see their friends and stay in a routine."
The NSW Government is distributing more than 12 million RATs to over 3150 government, non-government schools and early childhood centres to assist with surveillance testing.
The measure is in place for all primary and high school students, school staff and early childhood staff.
Testing will be through the first four weeks of term, with two weeks of supply distributed before term starts.
Karli said she feels comfortable with getting the test taken by her mum in their house.
Mrs Goyne said home testing is the best measure available to parents, as going to a drive-through testing clinic is not practical.
Both Karli and Mitchell have had their first COVID vaccination and are booked in to receive their second doses in March.
Karli is starting Year 6 and Mitchell will commence Year 3 in 2022.
They are both looking forward to seeing their friends and participating in their favourite subjects - including sport.
In making the announcement regarding school safety measures, Premier Dominic Perrottet said supporting students to return safely to the classroom is vital after two years of disruption to their education.
"Students learn best at school, some students have spent a quarter of their schooling at home. We're committed to bringing students back safely," he said.
Other measures included mandatory mask wearing for all staff and high school students, masks encouraged for children in primary schools, limiting interaction between year groups and limiting visitors to those providing essential curriculum and wellbeing support.
NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos said teachers and principals are bracing themselves for what will inevitably be a disruptive start to the school year.
"Omicron has taught us that nowhere is safe," he said.
"That is why we have, and will continue to insist, that the implementation of risk mitigation strategies, such as rapid antigen tests, masks, improved ventilation and cohorting, is as robust as it can be.
"We clearly remain concerned for the health and safety of our students, staff and their families."
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