Schools & Academies in England, Member Update – 24th February 2021
We hope this finds you well.
As expected, the Government has now announced its intention to fully reopen schools on Monday 8th March. GMB proposed, and would have preferred, a phased reopening of schools but this was rejected and so we have prepared advice and guidance for you, to assist in ensuring you are as safe as possible when schools fully reopen.
UPDATED DfE GUIDANCE
This updated guidance is in place until the start of the Easter Holidays when it will then be reviewed.
The main changes you need to be aware of within the guidance are-
- For pupils in secondary schools, the guidance states that “face coverings should be worn in classrooms or during activities unless social distancing can be maintained. This does not apply in situations where wearing a face covering would impact on the ability to take part in exercise or strenuous activity, for example in PE lessons”
- In primary schools, it is recommended that face coverings should be worn by staff and adult visitors in situations where social distancing between adults is not possible (for example, when moving around in corridors and communal areas). Children in primary school do not need to wear a face covering.
- The definition of an outbreak has changed from being 2 or more cases in 10 days to 2 or more cases in 14 days.
- CEV staff are not to attend school until 31st March 2021 at the earliest.
- Wraparound and extra- curricular provision can resume from 8th March.
- Close Contacts must self-isolate and Lateral Flow Tests cannot be used instead of isolation.
- Schools can introduce staggered start and finish times, as long it does not reduce learning time.
The DfE is clear that rotas for pupils must not be introduced or class sizes reduced as there is no need to reduce occupancy within schools.
The Government does not expect there to be a requirement for shielding beyond 31st March 2021 and it is therefore important if you are currently classified as CEV, you request for an Occupational Health Risk Assessment to be completed before you return to work. If you will not have had your second vaccination by 31st March, discuss this with your Head Teacher and the Occupational Health professional.
Here is a guide on how best to protect yourself when schools fully reopen. This includes practical advice for you on how to make sure your school is properly implementing a system of controls.
Schools Members' Meeting at 5pm, 03 March 2021
On Wednesday 3rd March at 5pm, we will be holding another meeting for our schools-based members. This meeting will provide members with the latest advice and guidance as well as offer an opportunity for members to put forward any questions they may have.
As well as sharing any concerns with us, talk to your GMB Rep or if you do not have one, talk to each other. Even without a Rep in your school, you and other GMB members can come together to address any concerns or issues and we will support you. If you have any colleagues who are not in a Union, they can join GMB online at www.gmb.org.uk/join. GMB only represents the position of school support staff so will never have any conflict of members interests.
Please do not hesitate to contact your local Branch or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Stay safe and we look forward to seeing you at 5pm.on Wednesday 03 March.
Lisa Bangs, GMB London Region Organiser — Schools and Academies
Keith Williams, GMB London Region Senior Organiser