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. See section 8, ‘keeping occupied spaces well ventilated’ of the Dfe guidance for more information. 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. Please contact your branch and let them know. UNISON believes this should be planned for in advance rather than reacted to later. Exception; Please contact your school for details. This applies if the setting either closes, or remains open but at reduced capacity. The risks are too high. 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. Many schools are choosing to operate a staggered lunch and/or break service to keep ‘bubbles’ separate and this does show that the school is putting safety of staff and pupils as a high priority when they do this. Education unions agree statement on the safe reopening of schools. UNISON remains clear that members who work in schools have a right to a safe working environment. Some have also called for school staff to be prioritised for vaccines. Primary opening should also be held back. This would not be fair on staff or pupils. You can view the schools’ approved waiver applications and reopening plans on … UNISON believes the DfE guidance for schools on carrying out risk assessments is inadequate. As much as UNISON understands the challenging circumstances in which schools are operating, it is not fair to staff or pupils if staff are being deployed inappropriately. These models will help schools provide parents with student schedules for in person learning. 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. The advice from the Department for Education states that most, if not all, pupils attending special schools/colleges and alternative provision are classed as vulnerable and should therefore be receiving a face-to-face education, if appropriate. In schools where there have been a high number of cases of children needing to isolate, there may have been a downturn in demand for school meals due to fewer children buying them. Risk assessments should decide whether PPE is necessary. "Bringing all pupils back into classrooms while the rate of infection is so high is exposing education sector workers to serious risk of ill-health and could fuel the pandemic," they said in a statement. UNISON strongly disagrees with this guidance. By continuing to use our website you are consenting to their use. The DfE guidance is confusing and provides too many caveats (i.e. Evidence shows that pre-school children are less susceptible to infection and are not playing a driving role in transmission.’. Please note that we are currently updating these FAQs in light of the new DfE guidance. Schools should also follow alerts from the app to self-isolate when directed. 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. But many local councils have defied the government's rules, saying they will support any primary school who does not feel safe to open this week. UNISON believes that schools should permit and encourage staff and eligible pupils to use the app, following the DfE guidance. Private outsourced catering, cleaning, IT companies etc. UNISON does not believe that it is either possible or appropriate for a special school, college or alternative provision to be able to remain open to all pupils whilst ensuring the health and safety of pupils, carers and staff during the lockdown. Contact your local UNISON branch immediately if you are required to work without a risk assessment being carried out. The Department for Education have published new guidance for schools on restricting attendance during the national lockdown. Schools must take steps to provide remote learning to students who are not in school or college. 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. Yesterday, Education Minister Kirsty Williams, said schools will move to online learning until 18 January but UNISON says there is no way the essential preparatory work to ensure schools are safe to re-open to all pupils could be undertaken by then. 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). Some schools did not give a definite plan for having their staff regularly tested. 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. 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