Inez Kirk, branch secretary and Ann Gray, acting assistant secretary and education lead sent out a new update to our UNISON education support staff members.
“First of all we would like to say a big thank you to all of you for doing your utmost during these strange and difficult times; you are a credit to the council, your communities and UNISON.
The last few weeks have been difficult, planning for a blended learning return and then the Scottish Government making announcements on the full return following the holidays. It is hard to plan when the goalposts keep moving.
What we do know so far:-
· That the plan will be to have a full time return to school for all young people from 12th August, this being if the Covid 19 infection rates remain low.
· That young people will not be expected to socially distance, we do not know what will be expected of staff and adults in the school.
· That we await the ‘final’ decision on school return by the end of July.
· That there will be comprehensive risk assessments in place for every activity, if you don’t have one or see one it is important that you let me know.
· That your duties have not changed, you will not be expected to be cleaners, if bathrooms need to be cleaned during the day that will need to be done by those that are skilled and employed to do so. You will be expected to clean tables down as you do now following activities.
· PPE will be provided when activities require you to work closely with young people, providing personal care or working one to one with an individual.
UNISON has had a marvellous response to the roll out of school based health and safety reps and these will be our eyes and ears on the ground, please let them know your concerns. If your school does not have one or you don’t know who they are just let the branch know and Ann Gray, our Education Lead, will support. You may want to volunteer yourself?
During the school summer break the branch will continue to work closely with the council to ensure that your views are represented and that school staff will have a voice going forward. As things progress we will send out further briefings to keep you in the loop.
One thing is certain we will not allow our members to be in a position where they feel at risk without support. Feeling obliged to carry out work that they are unsure of or scared. As the government change the stages of lockdown we will review expectations on staff and work constructively with the council to ensure your safety and security is paramount.
Please enjoy your break as much as you can. It is well deserved and remember it is your holiday and you do not have to do anything during that time for the council or school.
Please take care and future updates will come as the stages of lockdown change. If you need to contact us please do so on firstname.lastname@example.org and check our Aberdeenshire school support staff page on Facebook and our Aberdeenshire UNISON webpage.