Coronavirus: Protect teachers with weeks off – not days

New joint union guidance says schools should not ask teachers to attend full staff meetings, clean cupboards, or take down displays

William Stewart

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A new document drawn up by unions to protect teachers working during the coronavirus outbreak calls on schools to use rotas to give staff longer periods of time off.

“Staff holidays should be operated on a rota basis so that staff get two weeks off, either before, during or after the period when the school would normally be closed for Easter,” it says.

“Having weeks rather than days off will offer significant benefits in protecting staff health through minimising the extent of contact with different colleagues. It should not be assumed, however, that staff can change their plans, even during the current situation."

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The guidance, drawn up by the NEU teaching union and the ASCL and NAHT school leaders’ union and published tonight, also stresses that “teachers should not be asked to be on site if they are not looking after pupils”.

It comes after Tes today revealed concerns that some schools have been putting teachers at unnecessary riskThe new guidance is clear this should not happen.

“They should not be asked to attend full staff meetings, or to clean cupboards, or take down displays for example because this increases their exposure to the virus and endangers the NHS,” it says.

“All supply teachers must be fairly treated – kept in post, supported if unable to work and employed as a key part of local authorities’ response to this crisis.”

For special schools, the document acknowledges that the use of rotas "may pose some particular challenges" when higher staff ratios are required.

But it says special school leaders "should still try to take a similar overall approach to the use of rotas where possible”.

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William Stewart

William Stewart

William Stewart is News editor at Tes

Find me on Twitter @wstewarttes

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