Principals and teachers left confused after the Prime Minister’s statement that social distancing was not required in schools, contradicting earlier advice.

He said parents would be better off looking at their school’s Facebook page than listening to media reports.
“Despite what the PM has said we’re still encouraging parents to keep their students at home unless it’s a designated day, so we can have a controlled staged return. It will be easier to manage if it’s staggered. That way we can monitor for infection.”
Educators confirmed the NSW health department had carried out a previously unreported study of infection spread in schools. This was part of the advice which went to the Prime Minister, who said it would be released on Friday. But a representative of NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the report had not been finalised and “won’t be out” on Friday.
Teachers said the Prime Minister’s advice was completely at odds with the rules teachers had to obey.
Independent Teachers Union of Australia federal secretary Chris Watt described the situation on Friday night as “extraordinarily chaotic”.
Teachers had to follow social distancing but their students didn’t. They could only follow separation rules for themselves if they staggered lunch hours, staggered use of toilets and rearranged timetables to avoid situations where they had to be in close proximity.
He said the federal advice was different to the state advice which was different again depending on which school system interpreted it Catholic, independent or government.
Teachers were trying to do their job but were carrying the blame for politicians and policy makers.
“It sticks in teachers’ craws they are being told they have to get back to being ‘real’ teachers. What do people think we’ve been doing all this time?”
Queensland Teachers’ Union president Kevin Bates said there was no logic in the advice being given to schools.
“We’re not medical experts, we need to understand the evidence.”