eNews - 23 March 2020 - URGENT COVID-19 information

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URGENT COVID-19 information

The SSTUWA believes Western Australia should take decisive action to protect teachers and other school and TAFE staff and either introduce pupil free days until school holidays begin, or bring forward school holidays. This is NOT business as usual, we are in a state of emergency.

The decision announced by the Prime Minister yesterday regarding schools was the worst possible outcome and has created enormous uncertainty.

Teachers simply cannot be expected to set work for pupils withdrawn from school and continue to teach in classes for pupils who do attend. This is impossible.

Many schools have no soap, no hand sanitiser and no chance of applying 1.5m social distancing in a school setting.

The SSTUWA calls on the McGowan government to do the sensible thing and follow the example of the eastern states in bringing school holidays forward as part of moving to some form of online learning.

The SSTUWA stands ready to assist the state government in keeping a limited number of schools open for the children of essential workers, with schools staffed by teachers outside the high-risk categories.

The disdain for the safety of educators in every pronouncement yesterday was galling.

Members are reminded that the current health advice states:

Some people may be at higher risk of infection, such as people who have other illnesses that suppress the immune system or make them more vulnerable to respiratory disease. This includes people with lung disease or diabetes, those who have suppressed immune systems, and the elderly.

Members who fall into those categories should immediately approach their principal to discuss options for working from home, taking sick or carer’s leave and if those have exhausted seek paid COVID leave.

The union reminds all parents, including members, of the Prime Minister’s direction that parents can choose to take their children out of school.

The SSTUWA president is meeting today with the Director General and has requested an urgent meeting with the Minister.

This is NOT business as usual.

Teachers should NOT set work for students who have been withdrawn from school. This is a department directive.

All events such as parents’ evenings should have been cancelled. If this has not happened at your school please immediately inform the department and the SSTUWA.

All schools should have supplies of hand sanitiser and soap and should be getting extra cleaning. If you do not have supplies send an email to buying@education.wa.edu.au

All union reps are asked to ensure all members get this information, please place it on school noticeboards.