SINCE positive cases surfaced across both Molong school communities, parents have had to juggle with decisions around their childrens' schooling; either stick with remote learning for the short remainder of term, or send children back to on-site learning with the use of daily testing kits.
While there's still 62 active COVID cases across the Cabonne Local Government Area as of Tuesday, December 7, schools have been directed to provide students - not infected with the virus - with the option of on-site learning under daily testing provisions.
Rapid Antigen Home Tests, or RAHT kits, are at-home screening tools used monitor for the early detection of coronavirus.
A nasal swab is placed into a chemical solution, before producing either a positive or negative result within the 10 minutes following.
St Joseph's Primary School and Molong Central School - the only schools in Molong - have both made kits available to students' families, though both schools are in full support of whether parents or caregivers choose to use the kits and attend school, or keep their kids learning remotely from home.
"Parents will decide whether children use the RAHT [kit], or continue to isolate for the 14-day period," said Principal of St Joseph's Primary School Matthew French.
"We fully support parents' decision either way - whether they undergo the daily testing and send them back to school, or decide to keep children at-home - we will fully support that choice".
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Molong's local gym owner and MCS parent, Heba Elkurdi, has made arrangements for her child to continue learning remotely with the support of the school.
Though it hasn't been an easy decision as she also tries to juggle her flood-impacted business at the same time.
"For those of us who are in a position to work from home or make online learning plans - and where the schools are supportive of parents' decisions either way - it's not worth risking [our children's'] health or adding to the rise in cases at the moment," said Ms Heba Elkurdi.
"Our school communities have enough to worry about at the moment and our town in general, I mean ... we've been hit by flooding where businesses are really struggling, Christmas is just around the corner and now the return of COVID has made things harder.
"[And] some parents are stuck without another option but to send kids back with regular testing; it's a hard time for families in general".
Kate Redfern, St Joseph's parent and co-owner of small business Lime and Stone cafe in Molong, is a parent who opted for the regular RAHT kit testing to see out the duration of the school term; but it wasn't a decision made lightly either.
"We just don't have the capacity to keep our doors closed again," Mrs Kate Redfern explained.
"I need to be at work because there's no other staff available and [being impacted by COVID] is out of anyone's control. Of our four full-time staff, I'm the only one who doesn't have an active COVID case in my household so, to remain open, I have to send [my child] to school.
"And we have to stay open because there's no government assistance to stay closed, so ... that's it; what do you do?"
From the first known date of case exposure from both schools, a varying figure between the two, children in Molong must continue isolating for a 14-day period. For most, this date will surpass the end of term and overlap with the Christmas holiday period.