eNews - 29 April 2020 - Message from the President, COVID-19 precautions survey

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Message from the President

Members face a major challenge today with a determined push by the state government to get all parents to send their children to school.

A series of promises have been made as part of that push - and it is crucial that members ensure those pledges are delivered.

No teacher should be delivering more than one mode of education at the same time. The Minister has been insistent that this will not be expected. You should not be asked to teach a class and at the same time deliver lessons online or prepare work packs.

There should be hand sanitiser in every classroom – no exceptions.

There should be soap and paper towels in all bathrooms.

There should be regular cleaning throughout the day in all classrooms and other areas of the school. This should be done by professional cleaners. Teachers should not be asked to do the cleaning themselves, nor should they be asked to get students to do the cleaning.

Parents should not be entering school grounds.

If issues arise, please go through your union OSH rep, who will in turn be seeking to work with school leaders to ensure the promised measures are put in place without adding further to the workload all members are facing.

The union is also surveying members on the measures. You will find a link below. This is part of our efforts to ensure that members, who we know value face-to-face teaching, feel as safe as possible at work.

The SSTUWA welcomes the announcement of a research project which prioritises schools and involves the testing of teachers and students. Such tests, which we are advised may start in week two, may prove the advice that schools are safe and give members greater confidence in the safety of their workplaces.

Members are also advised to make use of the community testing available. The criteria for testing have been widened - if you meet the criteria, we encourage you to get a test.

The current medical advice (24/4/20) is applicable to staff and any adults on site. It is imperative that appropriate measures are in place and maintained.

Your union makes no apology for putting your interests first. The safety of school staff was not so much as mentioned by the Prime Minister in the first weeks of this crisis. It took intense lobbying for politicians to consider the wellbeing of teachers.

There have even been efforts to blame teachers or make them feel guilty for worrying about their health and that of their families. Yet every day teachers have turned up for duty and kept state schools open. Public schools have never been closed, despite what some federal politicians have said.

Through it all, you, our members have kept working, kept caring and kept teaching. We have your backs and will not allow that commitment to go unrecognised.

COVID-19 Workplace precautions survey

The SSTUWA would like your feedback in on your experience at your workplace today. This is part of the SSTUWA's efforts to ensure all members feel as safe as possible at work.

You will finds the survey here. It will take about three minutes to complete. The survey is anonymous and is for members only.