NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has responded to criticism that her messaging about schools in her state has been confusing, saying the directive is "very clear".
"We've said schools are open... the health advice is that schools are a safe place," she said.
"However, we are recommending at this time that parents keep their children at home.
"I don't care what criticism I get, I will do what's right for my people.
"I'm hopeful after the school holidays, things will go back to normal.
"But if they don't ... at least NSW is ready and has this online learning capacity up and running."
It was raised that one NSW school principal had sent out messaging that unless parents are emergency and essential workers, they should keep children at home.
Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said the advice was that where possible, students should be kept at home.
"Schools remain open for those who need to send their children," she said.
"No child will be turned away from a school community.
"We will be using online systems where we can, where devices are available ... we're also using physical packs."
She said absence rates are already at about 40 per cent across public schools, and that the New South Wales Education Standards Authority is meeting this morning about the HSC.
"I have asked them to provide clarity around what we will be doing with the HSC this year," Ms Mitchell said.
"We'll be able to provide parents and students with more certainty very soon."
On Monday, Albury High School posted on its Facebook page that parents were encouraged to keep their children at home and access their school's learning from home programs.
"Albury High School staff are continuing to develop educational packages that will be implemented as soon as possible," the post read.
"These measures have been put in place to help minimise the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in NSW.
"Learning from home refers to the ways schools will maintain teaching and learning in the event of a prolonged school closure or student absence.
IN OTHER NEWS:
"Advice and resources for parents and carers to support student success when learning remotely can also be access from the below link.
"Due to reduced student attendance, the Albury High School Canteen will be closed effectively immediately until further notice."
There are now 818 cases of COVID-19 in NSW, an increase of 149 overnight.
There have been six deaths.
Ms Berejiklian stressed the importance of self-isolation and social distancing as COVID-19 numbers in NSW continue to rise, giving the state the highest concentration of cases.
"Many countries did not take many of the actions this early on in the process," she said.
"I don't want to be another example of a jurisdiction that didn't do what it needed to do at the right time."
She reflected messaging from Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews that state borders wouldn't be closed.
"Some states have closed their borders, that's their decision, the decision I've taken in NSW is in relation to my citizens, and NSW is very different to other states," Ms Berejiklian said.
"We have to apply these things based on health advice, but also in a practical, public way."
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