A HUNTER father whose three children have been learning partially remotely for five months due to COVID-19 concerns said he is within his rights to keep them away from school.
The father - who has custody of his children every second week - withdrew them from their public primary school the week before families were asked on March 23 to keep children home if possible.
When the government asked students to start making a staggered return to classrooms from May 11, the children's mother sent them back to school. But he decided to continue remote learning when they were staying with him.
"The information I was receiving I was not happy with and I'm still not happy with, to be honest," the father said. "Daily it's just more and more confusing. Today the Premier is telling us to wear masks in shopping centres, where when we were in lockdown there was no talk of a mask - and wasn't it worse when we were in lockdown?
"When there's a dangerous situation it's my legal right to make a decision when they're in my care, the government doesn't decide it. Everywhere else in society people can socially distance, but kids have no choice but to not social distance at school, by law."
He said he was also concerned about the number of school staff elsewhere who had tested positive.
He said the school hadn't given him any extra work for the children, but they were using a booklet from remote learning and two school-recommended apps.
He said the children are marked absent when they don't attend. "I've asked for an exemption," he said. "I want some assistance, instead of resistance."
A Department of Education spokesperson said "schools continue to be safe and all school activities and operations are in line with AHPPC guidelines and NSW Health advice".
"All students should be at school unless they currently unwell; or they have a medical certificate which states that they are unable to return to school due to an ongoing medical condition," the spokesperson said.
"If a student is away for more than three days without a medical certificate they will be recorded as an unauthorised absence."
He said a police youth liaison officer visited his home on July 24 for "a welfare check on the grounds of educational neglect" and told him he was "committing a crime".
He said the same officer attended a meeting at the school about his youngest child.
A NSW Police spokesperson said officers will "continue to work with schools and principals across the state to ensure the ongoing welfare and support of students during this time".
The father said he was "just trying to protect my children".
"Why aren't they [police] out getting people who are out there partying and making it so businesses shut?
"They're the people they need to be targeting instead of wasting their time on somebody like myself."
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