A message from the President on COVID19 and school operations

Update from the President – the latest on coronavirus and schools

This morning I attended a meeting of the COVID-19 School Operations Advisory Group. The group was set up at the request of the Minister for Education to bring together key stakeholders in education and try to provide some certainty for our schools, our students and our staff.

Members of the group agreed on the need to provide reassurance to staff, students and the broader community and clarity about how schools will function in coming weeks.

We acknowledged that some states have already made the decision to bring forward their school holidays, and that the NT Chief Minister has now announced that students will not be required to attend school until the end of the term. Various options were put forward as to what school operations will look like in the coming weeks.

The advisory group broke the coming period into three “phases”: (1) the period between now and the school holidays; (2) the school holiday period; and (3) Term 2 and beyond.

Based on the feedback provided by the AEU and other stakeholders, a proposal from the Department of Education will go to the Minister and the Cabinet. From there we will have some more certainty about how the rest of the school term will play out.

Tomorrow afternoon our Branch Executive will meet and discuss developments and recommend further action as appropriate. Once Executive has met and we know the Cabinet decision, we will publish another bulletin updating you on the decision on school operations and what it will mean, and further information about how government decisions will impact on your employment conditions.

I realise this is a time of great anxiety and uncertainty for everyone. Just when we think we have a handle on a new reality, the earth seems to move and a new set of rules come into place. Since the weekend, there are new complexities at play due to interstate travel restrictions and particularly for remote-based members due to communities being isolated on safety grounds.

Much is being asked of you, and rest assured that your union fully expects that your welfare is front and centre when government makes decisions about school operations. 

Jarvis Ryan

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