Wagga teachers say they have been "abandoned" by the NSW government, which has doubled down on its refusal to follow their Victorian counterpart and shut schools.
The announcement angered NSW Teachers Federation Wagga organiser Bretti Bertalli, who labeled the government's stance as "hypocritical and contradictory".
"Teachers feel abandoned by the government and feel that the health and safety of the teachers and the students is at risk," Mr Bertalli said.
"Teachers feel unsafe, and if they feel their students are also unsafe then we have an inherent responsibility as teachers to close the schools."
Mr Bertalli said schools were woefully underprepared to shift to an online learning model, especially the regional and rural schools which suffer from unreliable internet connections at the best of times.
"I don't know how our broadband system will cope with an entire nation switching to online education," Mr Bertalli said.
"We've got serious concerns for rural and remote regions, because frankly the technology is not here."
Mr Bertalli's misgivings were shared by Wagga parent and P&C Federation Riverina board member Sabi Nabi, who said the government's mixed messages had left parents confused and in the dark.
"I don't understand why there isn't a consistent approach between the federal and state level and the prime minister. If the government could give clarity that would be fantastic," Mrs Nabi said.
"It's better to take preventative measures and be more proactive before the situation is out of our hands."
In other news:
More clarity was sought on Tuesday, when the teachers federation met with the government and the department of education to demand clearer guidelines and more support for teachers.
Their demands include a complete health protection package for teachers, which would allow teachers with health concerns to work from home.
They are also demanding "complete logistical, industrial, and professional support" for teachers who need to supervise children whose parents cannot look after them at home, such as healthcare workers.
In the Catholic sector the picture is quite different, with Wagga Catholic schools already offering students the option of studying online courses either at home or at school libraries and computer spaces under teacher supervision.