HUNTER principals have taken to social media to empathise with confused parents, after Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced students will return to schools full time from next Monday.
Department of Education secretary Mark Scott is scheduled to hold a livestream with principals at 3.30pm on Tuesday to discuss details of the return.
This will be more than seven hours after the Premier's 8am press conference and around 20 hours after initial media reports.
Glendale East Public principal Nathan Forbes posted a video message to parents early on Tuesday, saying he expected the day to be busy "with quite a few announcements coming".
"I don't have full details about the return to school next week but I understand you've probably got lots of questions and wanting to know some information around that," he said.
"I will get that information to you just as soon as I have it."
Mr Forbes said he would be in various meetings throughout the day about the full return to school.
"As soon as I have a better picture and I'm able to communicate clearly to you about the return to school next week I will.
"Please stay patient with me and I'll get that information out either late this afternoon, tonight even or tomorrow morning at the latest."
He said nothing that had been announced changed this week's return to school, which has been arranged under phase one of the original plan for a phased return to classrooms.
Kotara South Public School principal Sue Maxworthy also wrote to parents before the press conference on Tuesday to say that while the return had been reported on Monday night, "at this stage schools, principals and staff have not been directly informed of this information or have had it confirmed".
"Once we receive the full package of information with the expectations of the return I will get this out to you," she said.
"I understand how confusing it is to hear these things from the media and not have it coming from the school, all schools are in the same situation."
Merewether Heights principal Tim Beaven said he understood it could be confusing "and frustrating" not hearing from the school and said he may not be able to provide an update until Wednesday.
"It is my hope that following update meetings today, I will be able to communicate to the school community and to staff what this return will look like with more detail tomorrow," he wrote.
"Thank you again for your understanding."
NSW Teachers Federation regional organiser Jack Galvin Waight said the union weren't consulted and had been "blindsided" by the announcement.
"We and teachers are pretty disappointed we found out through the media rather than being told first," he said.
"We are concerned about what this means for at risk teachers in particular and working from home."
Independent Education Union NSW/ACT Hunter organiser Therese Fitzgibbon said the Catholic Schools Office had not yet confirmed whether it would also send students back to school full time yet.
She said members were feeling frustrated about the amount of time they had dedicated to remote learning.
"They've developed whole new units of work and methods of teaching because they were not anticipating to be back full time until the start of next term.
"The work they've created is now of very little value because they're going to be back face to face teaching."
The full time return of NSW students to classrooms comes after many spent eight weeks learning from home.
Ms Berejiklian urged families on March 23 to keep children home if they could, while also saying schools were safe places and would stay open for children of essential workers and those who had no alternate arrangements.
Families were then asked to keep children home for the first two weeks of this term, before a staggered return to classrooms started last week.
Ms Berejiklian originally said she wanted all students back at schools by the start of term three, but this was later brought forward to the end of term two and then the end of May.