Jodie Stewart's children couldn't contain their excitement when they found out they would be allowed to visit their friends again.
On Tuesday it was announced that children and teenagers aged 18 years and under will be able to create a 'friends bubble' to allow home visits, provided the adults in their homes are fully vaccinated, under an easing of restrictions for school holidays.
Ms Stewart has three children and said they had all been going through a tough time in lockdown.
"My kids had not long changed schools and were only in their second term there so then having to be thrown into home school away from those new friendships they had formed, they have struggled but we are coming out the other side slowly," she said.
"My daughter knows her best friend lives just around the corner from us and straight away was like 'can you ring her mum', they were her first words out of her mouth. My 12-year-old is out on his iPad googling where his friends live.
"My daughter was like 'these school holidays aren't going to be boring after all'."
The rule came into affect from midday, September 21, and stipulates each child is allowed to have two designated friends come to their house. These two friends must always be the same, creating a three-person "friends bubble".
The friends must reside within 5km of each other or in the same LGA and If parents/carers are dropping children off, they must not stay to interact with other parents or carers.
Ms Stewart's eldest, Gus, was delighted by the news.
Asked what he was most excited about, the 12-year-old said: "Going to my friend's house and having a sleepover. Just having a boys weekend.
"It's better now because we can go see our friends and socialise. It's not been very good, it's been very boring."
Lucy, the middle child of the bunch, was keen to get away from the screens for a while.
"It's good because I can see my friends instead of just seeing my brother all day while home-schooling," she said.
"I'm really excited to see my best friend. I'm excited that I can finally see all my friends again in real life and not over Zoom."
Minister for Education and Early Childhood Sarah Mitchell said this change would also benefit older students, allowing them to create a study bubble ahead of the HSC.
"Year 12 students have had a stressful few months, and with the HSC approaching, a study bubble is a great idea to help students maintain motivation, receive support from a classmate and continue their preparation for the upcoming exams," Ms Mitchell said.
For children who are splitting time between households for caring responsibilities, all parents and carers in that situation would need to be double-vaccinated for the children to be allowed to enjoy the added freedoms.
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