UNISON’s survey of education staff shows the vast majority are anxious about plans for more children to return to schools and nurseries. Before they return we need clear guidance about how we keep children and staff safe. This must be quickly followed by safe implementation of the guidance. Education budgets were already challenging. There will need to be substantial extra funding in order to put measures into place to ensure safe learning and care.
In order to move forward safely workers need clarity about:
- testing to ensure staff and children who are a-symptomatic don’t come into settings
- infection control: hand washing regimes and equipment, cleaning settings and equipment appropriately, thoroughly and regularly and the provision of materials to be used by staff throughout the day when needed
- social distancing measures in place where appropriate
- agreement on and provision of appropriate PPE, particularly for healthcare and intimate care and maintaining supplies of PPE.
- training on how to implement infection control and use of PPE
- adjustments for staff in or living with/caring for people in high risk categories
Working with trade unions locally will be essential to ensuring the safety of staff and pupils. Staff and parents need to be confident that safety is a priority.