The recovery process for Schools, Nursery Classes and Early Years Centres has required a significant response from the trade unions and your employer to ensure that the health, safety and wellbeing of all staff and children are central in the decision making process.
UNISON and EIS (teaching union) agreed a joint document over a week ago for the recovery of schools in Renfrewshire. The Chief Executive confirmed that this document was accepted and will be considered in the recovery process. UNISON has been working closely with Children’s Services Senior Management, HR and Renfrewshire Council’s Health & Safety Officers to consider the steps required at each stage of the process.
I have attached below a letter from the Deputy First Minister & Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills office to all Education Staff.
From 1st June 2020 – Facility Management Staff and Senior Management Staff have been operating to ensure that all establishments are cleaned and ready for the wider staff group and children returning.
Risk Assessments/HAZZID Checklist/COVID 19 Workplace Checklist
UNISON has now reviewed the following documents and are satisfied that these address the issues faced in the workplace and the implementation of these documents in practice will ensure that staff can operate safely.
I would remind members that they should follow the local guidance and arrangements including: Social/Physical Distancing, Hand Washing/Hand Sanitisers, Use of PPE, Fire Evacuation Procedures and General Health & Safety Awareness.
Staff required to return to the physical premise will be provided with Training/Toolbox Talks, Guidance and PPE on arrival.
Renfrewshire Council and UNISON Activists will be visiting Schools and Centres from next week.
All staff who are required to return to work for essential reasons will be designated as a “keyworker” – as a “keyworker” and if you are have childcare issues, a place will be offered in the current “hub” provision. If you work outside of the Renfrewshire Council area you should make arrangements through your local authority for access to the “hub”.
Additional Support Needs/Admin of Medicines/ Medical Interventions
Any child who falls into the above category will require an up to date risk assessments to be in place for the safety and wellbeing of both them and the staff. Care plans will also have to be updated and should it be identified that additional training, PPE or guidance is required – this should be implemented prior the any return.
Clerical/Admin Workers in Schools and Early Years Centres
It is understood that School Offices will vary in size and will only accommodate a small number of staff at any one time.
Staff will only be asked to attend if it considered essential. We have received this reply from (CBS – who cover Primary Schools & ELC’s) Management – “We are working with staff on an individual basis. Where they have issues or commitments that means they need to be at home for all or part of the day, then we are factoring this in. Where they are available to be in all day and there is important work to be done and it is safe to do so, we are suggesting that they come into work in as normal a pattern as is possible.
Where we can’t physically fit the full office complement into an office, we are rotating the clerical assistants but, we expect the senior clerical officer to be present wherever possible as there needs to be some local supervision”.
Secondary Schools – Please see attached document
It is our view that numbers should be kept to an absolute minimum and staff should only be asked to attend the physical premise if no other solutions for “homeworking” can be made.
Management position: “next week Riverbrae will only be having the children that have been in the hub from the beginning. Thereafter, the HT will start to identify the vulnerable children that we think will need help to get back into school long term”.
Shielding and/or Underlying Health Issues
Please see attached guidance issued to all Head teachers and Heads of Centres.
If you fall into this category the arrangements in place on 23rd March 2020 remain the same.
The Scottish Government and Public Health Scotland are reviewing the guidance on an ongoing basis – staff will be informed of any changes.
Early Years Centres
Please see attached timeline and information from Renfrewshire Council.
The Scottish Government and Public Health Scotland’s guidance remains the same – only if it considered “essential” should workers be required to return to work and only where working from home is not an option. Throughout this pandemic the message remains “STAY AT HOME”.
UNISON is expecting further guidance to be issued and when this is received we will circulate to members.
Can I take this opportunity to thank all our members for their significant response during this pandemic and I am sure by working together we can ensure the health & safety for everyone.