Alternative Working Arrangements - Guidance to Principals v4 31 March 2020

The aim of this guidance is to assist schools to facilitate Alternative Working Arrangements (AWA) for staff, where the organisational structures in schools allow this to happen. Initially this will be for Weeks 9 and 10 of Term 1 but may extend into Terms 2 and 3 in the event that significant numbers of students remain at home over the longer term.

1. As a continuation of the preparation and prevention phase of managing the spread of COVID_19, at the discretion of the principal, school staff may be rostered to work from AWA, including home, on any appropriate work related task or in support of social distancing measures. This is subject to the following conditions being met by the school:

  • any student who attends school must be adequately supervised for the duration of the normal school day in a safe, orderly and supportive learning environment;
  • by the end of Term 1 the school must be fully prepared to provide a learning from home program (distance education) for the possible duration of Term 2 which is based on the School Curriculum and Standards Authority curriculum relevant to the year level and/or the courses being studied by students.

2. Principals should consider the conditions above when implementing an AWA roster. Priority consideration for AWA flexibilities should be given to staff who:

  • are over the age of 70; and/or
  • are over the age of 65 with an underlying health condition; and/or
  • are over the age of 50 and Aboriginal; and/or
  • have an underlying medical condition*.

*Staff who have a current medical certificate that confirms that they are “unfit for work” are ineligible for working from home arrangements during the period that the medical certificate deems them unfit for work.

3. In approving staff to undertake AWA the principal must ensure that the school continues to maintain the administrative functions and duty of care requirements of the school.

4. When a principal is considering accessing AWA, they must seek approval from the Deputy Director General – Schools. It is expected that at all times there is a delegated site manager with end of line responsibility.

Guidelines for Principals: Rosters, Cleaning and Casual Staff

1. Rosters

Principals should ensure that the allocation of supervision or face-to-face teaching is made equitably and transparently. When developing rosters for students on school sites the principals should ensure the following.

  • The conditions in the relevant industrial instruments (Awards and Agreements) for teaching and support staff are maintained (for example, duties other than teaching (DOTT) entitlements).
  • Decisions are guided by the WA Department of Health advice about preventing the spread of COVID_19, including who can and cannot attend school.
  • The workforce management principles outlined in the DET COVID_19 Workforce Management Principles for School Leaders and Managers are applied in decisions relating to AWA or leave arrangements.
  • Consideration and implementation of strategies that reflect social distancing requirements (1.5 metres) in the broader community to the extent possible based on local school conditions.
  • Spread students across a range of available spaces such as vacant classrooms, the library, vacant performance spaces with desks added, the school gym with desks added, undercover areas with desks and chairs added, etc.

– Aim to create a space of four metres squared around each person to the extent possible.

– Supervision of small groups of students is to be done on a roster basis using teaching staff or level 3 education assistants special needs in accordance with their job description form.

– Movement in and out of the classroom or area being used for supervision needs to be managed carefully to ensure one person enters or leaves at a time.

2. Cleaning

Cleaning should be undertaken as per the guidelines provided to schools from the Department of Education. With reduced student attendance, principals are encouraged to consider minimising the use of classrooms and office space to accommodate cleaning.

3. Casual Relief Staff

Schools who have entered into verbal contracts with casual relief staff for the remainder ofTerm 1 2020 are to maintain their commitments. Casual relief staff are able to access COVID_19 leave as per Public Sector Labour Relations advice. Principals are advised to share this information with casual staff.