eNews - 23 March 2020 - URGENT COVID advice for TAFE members

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URGENT COVID advice for TAFE members

The SSTUWA believes Western Australia should take decisive action to protect TAFE lecturers and either introduce student 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. The Prime Minister did not even mention TAFE Colleges. The disdain for the safety of educators in every pronouncement yesterday was galling.

TAFE Colleges have no hand sanitiser in rooms and have no way of cleaning computer keyboards, mice, equipment or tools. Applying a 1.5 metre social distancing in already crowded classrooms and staffrooms is impossible.

The SSTUWA calls on the McGowan government to do the right thing and follow the example of the eastern states in bringing school holidays forward or advising parents to keep their children home, as part of moving to some form of distance and online learning. However TAFE lecturers cannot be expected to develop on-line materials at the same time as teaching their usual classes.

Alternative delivery and assessment strategies can be explored for TAFE Colleges with distance learning and on-line materials developed once students are no longer on site.

The current pressure from TAFE managers to create and develop online learning materials needs to cease immediately.

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 manager to discuss options for working from home, taking sick or carer’s leave and if those have exhausted seek paid COVID leave.

The SSTUWA president has requested an urgent meeting with the Minister.

This is NOT business as usual.

Alternative delivery and assessment strategies can be explored for TAFE Colleges with distance learning and online materials developed once students are no longer on site.

Pressure from TAFE managers to create and develop online learning materials needs to cease immediately.

All events should have been cancelled. If this has not happened at your TAFE College, please immediately inform the SSTUWA.

TAFE Colleges should have supplies of hand sanitiser and other products to clean equipment and should be getting extra cleaning. If you do not have supplies send an email to your manager and copy the union into the email and the response.

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