Staff should not be asked to provide their own cleaning materials, solutions or equipment at any time. Cleaning chemicals should conform to the Chemical Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) and be provided by the employer. You can also contact your local UNISON health and safety rep or local branch for further information and support. The Department for Education (DfE) guidance on schools reopening makes a distinction between ‘dedicated school transport; and wider public transport: The advice for passengers on public transport to adopt a social distance of two metres from people outside their household or support bubble (or a ‘one metre plus’s approach where this is not possible) need not apply from the autumn term on dedicated transport. Please also see the FAQs in the section below called ‘Special schools/colleges and alternative provision’. Statement passed at Tower Hamlets Unison Schools Meeting on 15 April All education workers are understandably angered and shocked by the government’s plans for a reckless wider reopening of schools on June 1. We are dismayed that the new DfE guidance does not address concerns that UNISON and other unions have raised about the impact that new definitions of vulnerable and critical workers’ children will have on attendance and the ability to prevent viral transmission in schools. UNISON remains clear that members who work in early years have a right to a safe working environment. Some schools did not give a definite plan for having their staff regularly tested. 4) A whole school strategy. Council leaders in Wolverhampton, Norfolk, Slough, Manchester, County Durham, Lancashire, Birmingham and Gateshead have also said they are happy for schools to stay closed if the headteacher thinks they are not safe. A collective group risk assessment will not be sufficient in identifying individual risk. Any member of staff volunteering for this duty must be given full training and an individual risk assessment – see the joint union guide for vulnerable employees. For example, closing classrooms to pupils for an afternoon a week and using this time for staff to take PPA and for the school to be deep cleaned. Please see page 5 of the joint union checklist. Your school has a legal requirement to update its risk assessment to include additional/revised control measures needed for the school to remain open safely and to consult with trade unions. Teaching assistants may also be deployed to lead groups or cover lessons, under the direction and supervision of a qualified, or nominated, teacher (under the Education (Specified Work) (England) Regulations 2012 for maintained schools and non-maintained special schools and in accordance with the freedoms provided under the funding agreement for academies). Given that whole year bubbles may be leading to an increased spread and largescale closures, ensuring that bubbles are of a workable size will minimise the risk of infection spreading throughout the school. UNISON is also calling on school employers to require contractors to pay full sick pay and the real Living Wage as a minimum as part of our Clean Schools, Safer Schools campaign. In the current climate it is extremely unlikely that any special school/college can operate as usual. Unions with members in the education sector are today (Wednesday) publishing a joint statement on the safe reopening of schools. One of the main issues across all schools that are still open is the government’s new and wider definition of ‘vulnerable children’ which means in some schools we are seeing larger numbers of pupils attending school than in the first lockdown in March. UNISON is concerned that the government is placing a heavy responsibly on schools without additional support and resources to deal with local outbreaks. In the worst-case scenario, there are legal rights to unpaid leave in some cases. Unions with members in the education sector today (Wednesday) published a joint statement on the safe reopening of schools. However, we believe that schools should also consider extending this policy to younger pupils. In addition, this period should not be recorded as sickness absence and should not therefore be counted against your sickness absence entitlement or be used in any other procedure i.e. Six trade unions have released a joint statement on the safe reopening of schools and slammed the government for its “chaotic handling” of the return of children to the classroom for the start of term this January amid the Covid crisis. Introduction. Unison, GMB and NASUWT have also all called for the reopening of all schools to be postponed. The government also needs to increase the short-term funding support to early years settings during this second wave to ensure that we have a sustainable sector when demand returns to normal. GMB, NAHT, NASUWT, NEU, UNISON, Unite. Today’s statement follows a longer statement to the Secretary of State on Friday (8 May), which set out in full detail the principles and tests necessary for the safe reopening of schools. As a result, schools will have fewer protective measures in place to reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19 than most other workplaces. If women are disadvantaged because their employer does not agree to reasonable flexible working arrangements to allow them to balance work and childcare, they may be able to claim indirect sex discrimination if reasonable attempts to resolve the matter individually or collectively do not resolve the issue. Districts also don’t need to wait for the county to get out and stay out of the purple tier for two weeks before reopening. Today’s statement follows a longer statement to the Secretary of State on Friday (8 May), which set out in full detail the principles and tests necessary for the safe reopening of schools. We are calling on the government to include early years staff as a priority group for both testing and vaccination along with all other education staff. After the tireless efforts of UNISON branches, reps and members, the government has finally closed most schools to all except vulnerable and key workers’ children. If there are no school-based reps then schools should contact the local UNISON branch. Early years settings in Northern Ireland and Scotland have closed to help prevent the spread of the virus, yet the DfE in England has said that it will withdraw funding from any nursery in England that closes, leaving many in an impossible position. The overwhelming majority of school members, including in academies, are covered by protections under the NJC ‘Green Book’ terms and conditions. UNISON has received many messages from early years workers expressing their fear and anger at the way they are being treated as somehow less important than other education workers. (AP) - Rural Modoc County in far northeastern Northern California plans to allow the reopening of schools, hair salons, churches, restaurants and the county’s only movie theater on Friday. Contents Covid-19 second wave – we need fully funded Local Government, NHS, and public services Unison General Secretary election Fire Service Schools Private Care Sector exploits workforce Representation Facility Time Covid-19 second wave We need fully funded Local Government, NHS, and public services The Tories record on combatting Covid-19 has been disastrous and as we […] That's in no one's interest. If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should work from home or stay at home on full pay where you cannot work from home. In light of the important change in the Government’s position, which we welcome, some previous national health and safety advice no longer applies. image caption Schools in England began reopening to some year groups in June. Maximum efforts need to be made to ensure that there is a fully integrated system nationally and locally. With rising transmission rates in primary schools we are also calling for urgent consideration of a requirement for face coverings in the classroom in primary school (with exemptions)  as is the case in countries such as France. The DfE has failed to provide any scientific advice for the different treatment of early years settings. Unison, GMB and NASUWT have also all called for the reopening of all schools to be postponed. The government’s advice on cleaning in a non-health care setting covers educational settings. by dedicated school transport, they mean services that are used only to carry pupils to school. The PPE required will depend on the nature of your role and should be issued where the risks you are exposed to make it necessary, such as cleaning staff and anyone administering first aid, medical care or personal support for special needs pupils. Unison members in schools and nurseries throughout Dundee are to meet this week to discuss the implications of schools reopening. There are some grey areas however over what is seen as PPE and what isn’t, for example: Uniforms are not generally seen as PPE but a protective apron to prevent the spread of infection would be. Schools must take steps to provide remote learning to students who are not in school or college. Notify all staff of what is happening and keep them updated on any developments. After continued lobbying from UNISON, the Government has now confirmed that all education and childcare workers have priority access to testing. We are concerned that the widening of the definition of vulnerable category is being driven by the government’s complete failure to roll out IT equipment to all children in need, despite having 9 months to sort this. 31 March 2020. Unison head of education Jon Richards said: "The Government must end its bitty, piecemeal approach and act decisively by delaying the start of term for all schools … We are also concerned at the potential increased risk to school staff whose roles mean social distancing will be extremely difficult, (if not impossible) for example those supporting pupils with medical needs, or carrying out one-to-ones or group work. We need to know more about the risk to staff and children about the impact of the new variant of the virus among young children before placing staff and communities at greater risk by re-opening all nurseries while infection rates are so high. UNISON's head of education Jon Richards continues to get your points across about wider reopening of schools in England. Also see the government advice on COVID-19: cleaning in non-healthcare settings. Schools should consider contingency arrangements for appropriate  cover supervision in their planning. Schools should not use rooms which lack adequate ventilation, for example due to windows which cannot open. Schools must comply with Government requirements, by ensuring that staff and pupils in Year 7 or above wear face coverings in communal parts of the premises and on dedicated school transport and taking other measures to reduce mixing and maintain social distancing. The Department for Education (DfE) wants children back in primary schools in a phased reopening starting next month, ... and the public service union Unison, representing school … Updated commentary on government guidance and checklist to support school risk assessments. The $202 billion budget Gov. It has been signed by UNISON, AEP, GMB, NAHT, NASUWT, NEU, … Supplies of coverings should be available for pupils along with procedures for disposal and storage of the coverings. Rushed government reopening plans have led to guidelines on ‘safe’ class sizes being ignored by some schools in the East of England, according to a survey published by UNISON today. Today’s statement is signed by GMB, NAHT, NASUWT, NEU, … Staffing is likely to be reduced due to some needing to shield or isolate, or who might be ill themselves. More than one in five (23%) support staff say primary schools have operated class sizes bigger than the 15 pupils per group maximum recommended to Significantly the government and Public Health England have now admitted the role of airborne transmission, particularly in poorly ventilated places where groups of people spend long periods of time together (this crucial new information is particularly important for schools). It is important that face coverings are used in addition to other protective measures and that wearing them does not lead to the relaxation of social distancing and regular hand washing, etc. The Green Book is negotiated by UNISON and the other support staff unions and contains the following clause: “An employee who is prevented from attending work because of contact with infectious disease shall be entitled to receive normal pay. The DfE latest advice states that all children and young people with an EHC Plan are vulnerable. UNISON strongly disagrees with this guidance. “We don’t believe there will be enough cleaning staff to fulfil the mammoth task of keeping schools clean. However, speaking on the BBC, Calum Semple, professor of child health and a member of the government’s own scientific advisory committee said that the decision to keep early years settings was a political one and not one based on scientific advice. UNISON believes that all early years settings will need to review their risk assessments as a result of the increased transmissibility of the new variant of COVID-19 and the increased risk to staff. Parents at a primary in Yardley, Birmingham, told Sky News correspondent Becky Johnson this morning they have "serious reservations" about the school being open. Educational provision is maintained for children during this time away from the classroom e.g. Brighton and Hove City Council has said primary school students should not return until 18 January, except for vulnerable children and those whose parents are key workers. Please contact your local UNISON branch for further advice and support. To read in full go to: www.tuc.org.uk/news/education-unions-statement-safe-reopening-schools UNISON has received the attached letter from the Minister for Education, Peter Weir MLA, explaining the approach the Department of Education intends to take in relation to the reopening of schools. Under the new lockdown rules all clinically extremely vulnerable employees should now be working from home (or working from home on full pay if their role cannot be done from home). UNISON strongly believes that the DfE guidance is not sufficient and that full PPE must be available for anyone supervising someone with symptoms as staff cannot predict if they will need to get closer to pupils. Some have also called for school staff to be prioritised for vaccines. We are calling for a review of the size of so called ‘bubbles’ and restricting further the number of children in these groups. There should be enough staff working to ensure that a rota can be covered without affecting anyone detrimentally and management should communicate with all staff concerned to find a solution that suits everyone. Reopening delay is sensible to make school mass testing work, says UNISON. Pupils sitting GCSE and A-Level exams this year are due to go back on 11 January, with the rest of secondary school year groups returning on 18 January. We  expect that changes which impact on others should be discussed with all those affected, and that the local UNISON reps/contact should be involved. Department for Education guidance does not mention schools carrying out individual risk assessments for vulnerable school staff – despite the fact that government advice for businesses reopening advises them to consider vulnerable groups. For cleaning staff, a risk assessment and training should be conducted and appropriate personal protective (PPE) equipment provided by the employer before any deep cleaning is carried out. Close contact means within 2 metres of someone for 15 mins or more. It causes an impact in the spreading rate of the disease," he said. Rather, pupils should carry out a pre-prepared exercise under supervision. School Reopening Plan School Schedule Model. More than one in five (22%) support staff say primary schools have operated class sizes bigger than the 15 pupils per group maximum recommended to maintain social distancing. UNISON, UNISON Centre, 130 Euston Road, London NW1 2AY. Sufficient transport provision must be made available to avoid any overcrowding and allow safer travelling for staff and pupils. Businesses must follow state guidelines and are required to fill out a Safe Reopening Plan before resuming operations. Responding to new Department for Education (DFE) guidance on the reopening of primary schools and nurseries and to meetings held on Friday 15 May between unions, officials and government scientists on the risk of Coronavirus transmission by children, UNISON head of education Jon Richards … However we are in dialogue with the Department for Education and await updated guidance on these settings, which we will respond to and update members as soon as possible. The DfE has provided guidance on using the app in schools. For more information see our factsheet on cover supervision. Talk to your UNISON branch if you are unsure what your rights are. A face covering is not considered PPE, as although it may help in reducing the rate of transmission, it does not provide the level of protection necessary to minimise the risk of infection. COVID-19: Unions warn schools reopening could put teachers at 'serious risk' and 'fuel pandemic' The prime minister has insisted schools are safe, despite parents' … UNISON is concerned that DfE advice for September states that bubbles can potentially be as large as entire year groups and that staff can move between classes and year groups. Initial advice for these settings is provided below. If you have any concerns about your educational setting or need support please contact your branch for advice. Instructions should also be given on the use of any specialist equipment such as steamers for sanitising equipment, fixtures and fittings within the school. Speaking at a London hospital rolling out the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for the first time today, Boris Johnson said the government is "doing everything we can to protect teachers". This must be provided by the employer ensuring it meets the relevant certification requirements, is cleaned and maintained, and staff are trained in its use. This joint statement sets out a number of key principles and tests that the school workforce unions believe are essential to have in place before any plans are taken forward to reopen schools in England more widely in the coming period. Cleaners employed to clean the school should be provided with the correct equipment. However, Sir David King, former chief scientific adviser to the government, told Sky News on Monday that ministers should "look very carefully" at the situation surrounding education. If you have issues with your employer, please raise them with your UNISON rep or local branch for advice and assistance. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that those care homes which offered full contractual sick pay to their staff carried lower risk of infection to their residents. UNISON urges co-operation over reopening schools UNISON is calling on the government to work with the union urgently, to help ensure that schools can re-open safely in the autumn. UNISON believes that working from home will also be the safest option for other employees with underlying vulnerabilities or who live with people who are clinically vulnerable. Good employers will recognise the benefits of retaining experienced and committed staff and should consider the childcare needs of all staff when planning for the winter term and beyond. During this time many staff have stretched the boundaries of their job roles to help schools out while vulnerable colleagues were forced to stay away from work or while other colleagues were re-assigned to other areas. We know that staff are unable to apply social distancing within early years settings, which already places them at increased risk. In many schools September re-opening should see a return to previous practice. In addition, individuals shouldn‘t have to work where they reasonably believe that they (or others)  face serious and imminent danger. Staggered start times and transport schedules could cause problems for parents with children of different ages at the same or other schools. UNISON is clear that HLTAs should not be expected to lead classes on an indefinite basis, although we are also aware of the importance of protecting the integrity of any classes/bubbles as much as possible in current circumstances. The DfE has stated that it believes, ‘Early years settings remain low risk environments for children and staff. For many children they would be better served by receiving a remote education. Reopening schools could fuel pandemic and put staff at serious risk, unions warn. (See links at the top of the page for advice in Scotland, Cymru/Wales and Northern Ireland.). Read full article. In addition, schools should look to do all they can to keep staff within one bubble and minimise staff movement between bubbles. The app is available to anyone aged 16 or over, therefore some students in years 11 and 12 can use the app alongside staff. Join UNISON and get essential cover wherever you work. Leader of Kent County Council Roger Gough has asked Education Secretary Gavin Williamson to keep all the county's primary schools closed, saying it is "very hard to justify" having some open while others were closed. It uses Bluetooth technology to track contact between app users, alerting individuals when they have come into ‘close contact’ with someone who has subsequently tested positive for coronavirus. If your mental health has been affected, or if you just want to talk to someone, there are lots of options. Although there is no clear definition of a deep clean it is accepted that a deep clean is more than a standard or regular clean. Put protocols in place for drivers/escorts to report to staff if any child is unwell on a journey to school, including isolating other student son the transport, the driver and escort. The DfE’s guidance for schools has a specific section on school staff: “Where support staff capacity is available, schools may consider using this to support catch-up provision or targeted interventions. Gavin Newsom signed into law last week largely keeps intact funding for California’s public schools, capping a turbulent couple months of budget negotiations. Government guidance outlines the key workers who must remain active to deliver this education provision in England, which includes childcare, support and teaching staff, social workers and specialist education professio… UNISON at a national level is continuously monitoring the situation. If you have issues with your employer, please urgently raise them with your rep or local branch for advice and assistance. This is so financial barriers are removed to enable outsourced staff to self-isolate in cases of local COVID outbreaks. UNISON is therefore calling on school employers to require contractors to pay full sick pay and the real Living Wage as a minimum (as part of our Clean Schools, Safer Schools campaign). Download further information on Schools and colleges’ health and  safety responsibilities. We do not think that the DfE should make this blanket statement. "The impact on teachers and other workers in the schools and on parents [of catching the virus] is bad. UNISON believes that all staff should be allowed to test as early as possible after suspected contamination, as this will limit potential cross infection. These practices should be adhered to at all times. Ministers should step back from 1 June target and put safety first. The government have advised clinically extremely vulnerable people to shield during this lockdown. In addition, individuals shouldn’t have to work where they reasonably believe that they (or others) face serious and imminent danger. As part of school reopening planning schools chose from different scheduling models for blended learning. capability etc. If you receive a notification from your employer that says you hours will be cut or you are in danger of losing your job, contact your local branch straight away for advice. The joint unions, including UNISON, continue to believe that staff should only attend the workplace when it is sufficiently safe for them as individuals to do so. unison.org.uk Reopening delay is sensible to make school mass testing work, says UNISON | News, Press release | News | UNISON National Primary opening should also be held back Just reopening a school for in-person instruction on its own is not going to address the issue of safety,” Newsom said, promising sanctions for schools that don’t follow safety rules. Contact your local UNISON branch immediately if you are required to work without a risk assessment being carried out. 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