On any normal week day, Maitland's footpaths are crammed with students and parents making their way to the city's schools - but not anymore.
Yet despite the daily rise in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the Hunter, schools remain open.
It's a decision which has the NSW Teachers' Federation on the cusp of calling for a shutdown of public schools.
NSW Teachers Federation regional organiser Jack Galvin said the "lack of policy, clarity and support is putting NSW educators at risk amid the COVID-19 pandemic".
"It is unacceptable that our schools, teachers and principals are left carrying the can with respect to what should be a government responsibility," he said. "What we have now is a recipe for chaos.
"Encouraging parents and caregivers to choose whether their children attend school or not fails to offer any assurances or provide any certainty. The Premier has created a moral dilemma for parents."
The Teachers Federation are pushing for the state government's assurance that systems will be in place for protection of all teachers and support to provide supervision for children of parents employed in essential services, and for those parents and guardians who are, for equity reasons, not in a position to care for their children.
On Monday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced schools in the state will remain open but encouraged parents to keep their children at home in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus.
"Because nearly 30 per cent of children are already being kept out of school, for practical reasons NSW is encouraging parents to keep their children at home," she said.
"This will ensure there is only one unit of work, whether the student is at home or at school. No child will be turned away from school."
All schools in NSW will provide online learning options for the remaining three weeks of term one.
However it remains unclear what will happen after the school holidays finish with term two due to resume on April 27.