The branch is starting to receive numerous queries from staff who under previous lockdowns have been directed to work from home but are now being told that they are “key workers” and should be coming into office locations. UNISON is clear that this lockdown is even more serious than the November lockdown given the new strain of the virus. If your manager is now insisting that you come into the office, please re-iterate to them the advice given by the government that if you can work from home then you should. Then get in contact with us and ensure that we are aware of what your service area is proposing.
Adult Social Care Members…
UNISON is aware of the issues arising in day ops and are discussing with management ways in which risks are managed and minimised for you. Please check with your manager that risk assessments have been reviewed to reflect risks posed by the new variant of Covid 19. Please get in touch if you have any concerns.
We are due to meet the management team on Monday to discuss the level of service being offered during this latest lockdown and the issues raised by members as a result of this.
Due to the level of concern raised, the advice of UNISON nationally and CILIP we have written to the head of service today, copying in the Kevin Maton, the Cabinet Member for Education and Skills. We have requested that Libraries cease services from Central Library as is their plan and enable staff to work from home or remain home if this is not possible.
Are you a key worker? Can you request your child goes to school because of your role?
This question has been raised because of verbal information received from Libraries management by some staff. To date, the critical worker list on the government website does not specify that Library staff are key workers.
Management has confirmed that the DCMs guidance has not been updated to reflect this. Therefore we would not advise members to exercise a right to a place for their child on this basis at the moment
We will update you as soon as we receive a response.
Do all staff need to be at school during lockdown?
No. Schools and colleges should ensure they have sufficient staff on-site to operate safely and support the on-site provision but all other staff should work from home where possible. A rota system would be the safest and fairest way to implement this. Some employees may prefer to work on-site – that’s a reasonable request. Despite the requirements for remote learning provision, it is not sensible to expect all staff to be on site.
Why are nurseries still open?
UNISON is continuing to press the government to treat nurseries the same as primary schools. We have seen a copy of the letter sent to Gavin Williamson on this matter. It notes that SAGE member Prof Semple is on record as saying he couldn’t explain why nurseries were open and the decision was not a scientific one.
What are doing about the wide definition of vulnerable children?
Nationally UNISON is arguing that only those children assessed as vulnerable in their COVID EHC plan should be attending school. Employees should be asking for individual pupil risk assessments for all SEN pupils who have a EHC.
What’s happening with risk assessments?
We’ve had very clear advice. We cannot tell you a school is safe if we have not seen and agreed a revised risked assessment. Employers must communicate changes to RAs to you as a matter of urgency.
Why did I get an email from the NEU?
NEU sent emails to all who signed its petition asking for school closures, asking them to join NEU. If you received such an email, contact us. You should have received an apology from the NEU for this misuse of data.
Why is my head saying UNISON has retracted the section 44 advice?
The DfE sent a letter to the director of education telling them we had done this. We haven’t. We expect a national statement from UNISON on this. It appears Gavin Williamson is misrepresenting UNISON views. We have informed the local authority of this.
My head is saying that DfE has now given clearer advice on how to manage the risk?
The DfE did issue new guidance yesterday. UNISON has stated nationally that they are dismayed that is does address our concerns about the definition of vulnerable children, keyworker children.
The current advice is:
1 – Limit bubble sizes to a maximum of 15 pupils per class or 50% of the usual class size, whichever is smaller.
2 – Staff should remain within their bubbles at all times with no crossover working.
3 – In special schools and alternative provision, it will not be appropriate or possible to give every child face to face provision every day.
What happens if the school isn’t following UNISON advice?
Contact us. Tell us. We have received further advice from head office on escalating issues which we are currently considering.
Clinically Extremely Vulnerable staff should be working from home.
UNISON Coventry City Branch
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