Taking on Term 2: What the union requests of your employer

On 22 April 2020, the IEU wrote to the Association of Independent Schools and the Diocesan Directors of Catholic Systemic Schools urging safety and certainty for members as Term 2 commences. The union is seeking a consistent approach to the operation of schools throughout the state. Key points in the union’s requests to employers include:

unwell staff and students must remain at home

signage should remind staff and students about COVID-19 protocols around coughing, sneezing, hand washing, shaking hands and physical distancing

hand sanitiser to be provided at the entry to and in classrooms and work spaces

soap to be provided and regularly topped up in all toilets

contactless thermometers to be available on site

vulnerable students and students whose parents are essential workers are to be accommodated at school at all times

if determined by the school, a graduated return of students no earlier than Week 3 – not on a roster basis of one day per week; return should preferably by year group; for example, senior students in secondary schools and kindergarten in primary schools

a teacher is to deliver via only one format at a time (either online or face to face – not both)

on site classes to be split to ensure physical distancing is maintained. For example, a teacher/student ratio would not exceed 1:10 and classroom dimensions should be checked to ensure the number of students complies with 1.5 metre physical distancing spacing

windows should be open to promote airflow where possible.

physical distancing is to be maintained in staff rooms and office areas – including by permitting staff to work from home

physical distancing needs to be maintained during movement of students around the school (for example, through narrow corridors)

during supervision of lunch and recess, physical distancing needs to be maintained wherever possible in the playground and around the canteen – breaks should be staggered where possible

cleaners to clean surfaces during breaks

medically vulnerable staff and staff who have a medically vulnerable person in their household should be permitted to work from home

distances need to be maintained at school gates during pick up and drop off

existing staffing should be maintained; the hours of cleaning staff should be increased; casual staff should be employed as required; teachers who are on leave should be replaced by casual teachers.