Scott Morrison has pleaded with Australia's teachers to keep classrooms open during the coronavirus pandemic.
The prime minister said it was especially important for the children of essential workers who cannot be effectively homeschooled.
"We cannot allow a situation where parents are forced to choose between putting food on the table through their employment, to support their kids and their kids' education," he said a video posted to social media.
"We will lose many things in the course of fighting this virus.
"One thing that I know teachers are united on, with their parents, is we do not want one of those things to be the loss of a child's education, giving up a whole year of their learning."
Labor's education spokesperson Tanya Plibersek hit out at the prime minster's plea, saying he was contradicting state and territory leaders.
"Parents just want clear information. So do teachers. This mess must be cleaned up immediately," she said on Wednesday.
"The prime minister is saying one thing, while some state governments are saying another."
Classrooms across the country are moving towards remote learning as a result of coronavirus.
In Victoria, term two for schools resumes on Wednesday but most students will be learning from home.
Mr Morrison thanked teachers for their efforts to keep classes going while the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
"I want teachers to know from me, both as a parent and as a prime minister, just how appreciated you are and how important the job is that you're doing right now and how much you are needed," he said.
Mr Morrison said medical experts still advised the coronavirus risk remains very low for children attending school, but added the health of teachers was a priority.
"Quite rightly, state and non-government education authorities are working on how to support and protect those teachers who continue with classroom learning, or having other arrangements in place for them."
Skills Minister Michaelia Cash defended Mr Morrison's comments, saying he didn't want coronavirus to take a year of schooling from children.
"If the medical evidence says you can keep the schools open, then that is what we should be doing," Senator Cash told Seven Network.
"This is not going to go away in the short term. We need to ensure that we get on top of the virus."
© AAP 2020