Coronavirus (COVID-19)


Decisive action needed to protect school and TAFE staff

The State School Teachers’ Union of WA has called for the State Government to take decisive action to protect school and TAFE staff and either introduce pupil free days or bring school holidays forward in WA schools.

The Union said teachers could not be expected to work without protection in conditions which did not comply with the most basic requirements around hygiene and social distancing, with many schools running out of soap and hand sanitiser.

SSTUWA President Pat Byrne said the Federal Government’s decision for schools to remain open had caused immense anxiety among school and TAFE staff.

“Our primary concern is for the health of all school staff and students across the state,” said Ms Byrne.

“However, we also have concerns about the continued education of our students; it is simply not possible for teachers to continue to teach in classes if schools remain open, while also setting work for students whose parents choose to keep them at home.

“We acknowledge a national approach should be taken to this issue, and are calling on the government to follow the example of other states like Victoria and the ACT to bring school holidays forward or move toward pupil free schools while working to implement some form of online learning.

“This is not business as usual, we are in a state of emergency.”

Ms Byrne said the SSTUWA was willing to work with the State Government to keep a limited number of schools open for the children of essential workers, if there was suitable protection for teachers.

The SSTUWA will meet today with the Director General of Education and has requested an urgent meeting with the Minister for Education and Training.

Where to get advice

Please note the SSTUWA will assist with individual industrial issues. However it is crucial that people seek health and other advice only from official sources.

School members with concerns about their workplace should read the DoE supplied information here. If you still have worries consult with your line manager.

The DoE is also issuing regular bulletins via Ed-e-Mail and Ikon, with particular advice for some school leaders in respect to addressing issues at schools with over 500 students, managing a school closure, messaging to parents and how to process leave of staff in this matter.

Today (Monday 16 March 2020) new advice was offered by Public Sector Labour Relations updating information on self-isolation and leave. That can be found at the bottom of the page here.

TAFE has issued the following advice.

For health advice the WA Health Department has these updates. You can find Federal Government information here. You can also call 1800 020 080.