For everyone AEU Victoria responds to the COVID-19 pandemic

  • 1 Apr 2020

The outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) is proving challenging for our community as we confront a likely increase in cases and the need to manage the operations of our schools. Your health and safety is the AEU’s highest priority at this time.

These unprecedented circumstances are raising concerns and anxiety for many members. The situation is changing very quickly. In situations like these teachers, ES staff, and principals are at the heart of ensuring students are supported and parents have clear information about the ongoing operation of schools. We are demanding that the Department of Education (DET) provides appropriate support to school staff across a range of issues outlined below.

Health and safety
The challenges faced by our teachers, ES staff and principals around social distancing in schools are significant and must be addressed. Yesterday, we told the DET they must provide clearer advice to schools about how measures to control the spread of coronavirus can be enacted, and where that is not possible what actions will be taken. We will continue to push for measures that will help protect the health and safety of our members and their students.

Pay

We are working hard to ensure arrangements for salaries and conditions are put in place in the event of school closures. On this front, we have ensured that the DET will continue to pay the salaries of ongoing and fixed-term teachers, ES staff, and principals in the event of any school closure.

CRTS and ES leave

At this stage the government has not adequately addressed the issue of whether or how CRTs and casual ES will be paid if schools close. We have conveyed our view to the government that there must be payments for our CRT members and casual ES so that they do not potentially face a significant period of time without pay.

School closures

We are constantly representing your interests to DET, especially about advice and arrangements around potential school closures and expectations about the provision of work to students. Given the rapidly changing nature of the coronavirus pandemic, we will continue to provide members with updated advice and information.

At this stage a school will be closed if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 among a student or staff member, with schools required to follow the advice of the Victorian Chief Health Officer, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Education and Training, about managing the closure. Please see the FAQs for more information.

We need to rely on the advice of those expert health officials who have the direct responsibility of advising government. Please read the statement on school closures in Victoria issued on Tuesday by the Victorian Chief Health Officer Dr Brett Sutton.

On Saturday we emailed AEU representatives and principal class members with clear information about the emerging outbreak.

As the number of cases in the community increases, we will continue to actively promote your needs, and ensure you are informed of any changes to the current advice.

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