Towards the end of last term, the IEU launched an online campaign Time and Trust: Remote Learning Now! where we demanded clear and immediate action from government and education employers to put in place emergency schooling measures for reduced student attendance.
This campaign was supplementary to the advocacy the IEU was already conducting on behalf of our members, representing your interests to state and federal leaders and education ministers, as well as school employer representatives.
The IEU was proud to receive more than 5000 signatories to our petition in just a few days – a public endorsement of our demands for rights and respect for all school and education workers.
The union noted the decision made by the 11 Catholic dioceses of NSW and the ACT to implement staff development days in the final week of Term 1, a response, albeit late, that was broadly in line with the union’s demand to provide teachers and support staff with adequate time to prepare for a new hybrid learning environment.
Schools are still exploring ways to ensure sites remain safe for the staff and small numbers of students who continue to attend if their parents are essential workers (including emergency services and health care workers) or who may be vulnerable in domestic situations.
In these periods of seismic transition, there is no shortage of work to be done. Teachers and support staff must be supported to work together to ensure the best outcomes for their students and school communities.
As the situation develops, we expect schools to adopt a compassionate approach at a local community level to ensure no vulnerable students are turned away.
In this time, it is critically important for schools to keep fulfilling their work, health and safety obligations and provide a safe and hygienic work environment for staff and students.
Schools delivering online education are not shut, and an open school must be a safe school.
The IEU thanks all of our members, and everyone who supported our campaign, for their solidarity – we can confidently say it means the world to our members as we navigate these uncertain times together.