FEDERAL and state leaders can be forgiven for many missteps as they scramble to respond to the coronavirus crisis that seems to change almost hourly, but the continued mixed messaging surrounding the status of our schools is a different story.
Parents who have seen schools closed in Victoria and who on Sunday saw Premier Gladys Berejiklian all-but-confirm NSW schools would be following suit this week were left confused and concerned on Monday morning when it was announced schools would stay open but students were encouraged to stay at home.
Presumably, Monday morning's announcement came after some pressure was applied by the federal government which always opposed school closures.
But it's hard to escape the conclusion that the decision for NSW to fall in line might have been due to the loyalty a Coalition state government felt towards to a Coalition federal government - a loyalty not shared by the Labor government in Victoria.
But the "half pregnant" policy has done little to ease parents' anxieties and now the pressure to close schools is starting to come from other sources.
The NSW Teachers Federation issued a statement on Monday calling for a number of reassurances from the state government, including "systems ... in place to provide complete health protection for all teachers" and "complete logistical, industrial and professional support to enable a core staff to provide supervision for children of parents employed in essential services".
If the government could make those assurances, the federation said, it would be "professionally bound" to call for the closure of all NSW schools.
And the Public Service Association - the union which represents school learning support officers, administration staff, Aboriginal education officers and other non-teaching staff - also called for schools to be closed to all students other than the children of essential services workers.
It's a mess, but it's a mess largely of the governments' own making.
Parents, teachers and students deserve better. They need clear thinking and clear speaking from our political leaders and a clear direction on whether schools should be open or not.
If changing medical advice means that policy must change, then fair enough. But keeping a range of conflicting policies all in play at the same time is not fair on anyone.