The health and safety of our members is paramount for the IEU during a time of further COVID-19 outbreaks in schools and the community.
Also of concern is the wellbeing of members who have been dealing directly with COVID-19 in their workplace or managing COVID-safe protocols with colleagues, students and parents, often in the face of rapidly changing advice from employers or government.
“There is a heightened sense of anxiety that there may be an outbreak in the school or the local community,” one principal member told the IEU. “Any cough or sneeze makes people nervous and members of the school community are particularly concerned if they or family members have health vulnerabilities.”
The impact of physical distancing and mask wearing on social relationships and implications for mental health are also of concern, the principal said.
“Staff are doing a wonderful job but there is a sense of tiredness, of being on guard all the time,” the principal said.
“We know that vigilance is absolutely vital but we need to monitor staff wellbeing and the risks of fatigue.”
Another member indicated that the COVID-19 challenges of Term 3 came on top of a Term 2 during which staff had managed remote learning then the return to classes, with many feeling an ongoing sense of anxiety, not knowing when they may need to self isolate as a close contact or if the school is required to close due to a positive test.