Welcome back to Term 3
Thursday 21 July 2022
Dear IEU Member
Welcome back to Term 3 and the IEU hopes that you enjoyed your break.
There’s an eventful return to school.
Members would be aware that government schools have reintroduced from the start of Term 3 a range of COVID safe measures, including:
- strongly encouraging mask-wearing indoors for all students and staff
- rapid antigen testing (RAT) of staff and students who have COVID symptoms or are close contacts
- strongly recommending students and staff keep up with vaccinations
- maximising natural ventilation
- requiring mask-wearing for staff working with students who are at greater risk should they catch COVID.
The NSW Government has also foreshadowed that additional measures may be implemented on a temporary basis school by school. These include:
- ceasing large indoor gatherings
- ceasing off-site and inter-school activities
- cancelling overnight activities such as camps and excursions
- mandating mask-wearing
- separating cohorts of students
- remote learning.
The union understands that the government may make additional supplies of RATs and masks available to non-government schools but the timing of this is not yet clear. No uniform approach has been adopted by Catholic and independent schools in line with the revised NSW Government advice. Only some dioceses have advised us as to the measures they will be adopting.
Please do not hesitate to contact the union if you have concerns about COVID safety in your school.
NSW Public Health Orders no longer require all school staff to be vaccinated although some employers may still require this for work health and safety reasons.
Industrial campaign in Catholic systemic schools
The union takes this opportunity to thank all Reps and members in Catholic systemic schools for their strength and determination to stop work for two full days recently and to attend rallies in great numbers held around NSW and ACT. We also acknowledge with appreciation the support of other members in the Catholic systemic sector, such as principals, counsellors and diocesan office staff, who were not able to stop work but who expressed their strong support for the Hear Our Voice campaign. The union also recognises the active support of members employed in other schools who demonstrated their commitment to salary justice for their teacher and support staff colleagues.
The union awaits the setting of further dates for the resumption of bargaining with CER. A range of issues including salary rates and support staff salary parity remain unresolved. During this school term, union officers will be discussing with individual diocesan employers further proposed changes to Work Practices Agreements with a view to address workloads and work intensification impacting the profession as well as measures to address the chronic staff shortages affecting all schools. The Term 3 round of Sub Branch meetings will focus on the elements of these discussions.
Shortages of teachers impacted members in many schools in Term 1 and 2 this year. The union will be conducting a short survey of IEU Reps on the extent of the problem next week – please look out for this email.
Thank you for your ongoing support.