COVID-19 and the return for Term 3
Last week Catholic Schools NSW released updated COVID-19 advice for schools for the commencement of Term 3. This information is to be shared with all school staff.
The IEU advises our members to read through the factsheets provided to ensure that they are familiar with these guidelines and the way in which these changes will affect you, both individually and as a school community.
The IEU maintains our focus on the health and safety of our members, their families and school communities. We note the CSNSW advice that all school based staff, including temporary and casuals staff, are expected to return to working on-campus, including those who may identify as being at higher risk of severe illness if they contract COVID-19. In line with updated AHPPC advice, a person may be at higher risk of severe illness due to COVID-19 if they fall into one of the following categories:
- People aged 70 years and over
- Have a chronic health condition
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who are aged 50 years and over with a chronic medical condition, weakened immune system or who are aged 70 years and over and people living in remote communities.
Staff who identify in one of the above categories and who live in areas where there are no or few cases of COVID-19 and no evidence of community transmission can commence a return to work to their usual workplace. In these situations, the risk of exposure is considered low regardless of a person's age or health condition.
In areas where there is increasing COVID-19 cases in the local community and/or evidence of community transmission, staff who identify in one of the higher risk categories will continued to be supported to work from home.
To be supported to work from home, staff will need to provide written confirmation of their circumstances to their principal or workplace manager and agree what work can be performed that will support teaching and learning. If staff are not able to perform work from home that will support teaching and learning, they may be required to apply for leave which may include special leave. If these circumstances apply to you, contact your union organiser for any assistance or advice you may require in making your application.
The IEU draws attention to explicit information relating to physical distancing among principals, teachers, support staff, adult volunteers and visitors to schools, including:
- Stay at home when unwell.
- All adults must maintain physical distance of 1.5m minimum between each other, including teachers, support staff, and visitors.
- Combine physical distancing with good personal hygiene practices.
- Do not shake hands or hug to greet colleagues or visitors to the workplace.
- Minimise the number of adults in an area or classroom at any one time to only those that are required to be there.
- Where possible conduct discussions outside and use alternate methods of communication phone calls and virtual technology for essential meetings and discussions.
- Do not host meetings with large numbers of staff. If larger numbers are required to gather, use outdoor locations or large rooms where a distance of 1.5 meters between staff can be maintained and limit meeting times to less than one hour.
- Continue to use staff rooms with measures put in place to minimise the number of staff within the room at any one time to maintain physical distancing. A roster system for access to common areas may be considered, with no shared use of personal items such as mugs and cutlery, which should be washed immediately after use and stored appropriately.
- Maintain the minimum distance of 1.5m from other staff when supervising sport and physical activities in schools.
- Maintain the minimum distance of 1.5m from other staff while on playground duty.
Should you require further advice, please contact the IEU either via your organiser or contacting the office directly. We will continue to monitor the situation and advice members as appropriate.