The below is a transcription from our “COVD-19: Early Childhood and OSHC Q&A”. If you would prefer to watch the video, please scroll to the end of this page.
The views and opinions expressed in this article and video are those of the authors. Please use the World Health Organisation or Department of Health to stay up to date on the COVID-19 pandemic. Please also note that with the changing nature of this situation, some of what was communicated may only be relevant during the time it was stated
How can we access work if schools close for a prolonged period?
Some schools in the independent sector are presently providing remote learning to students. In most situations we are aware of staff are doing this from the workplace. We are also aware all schools across the country have been taking steps to prepare for the prospect of eLearning delivery. There is much to learn in this space with many schools and students under-resourced to effectively deliver and receive learning online. Some schools, however, have indicated they will require the support from casual educators when staff are absent to help continue learning.
- Professional development
A series of webinars have been created by Dale Sidebottom with a focus on remote learning delivery. These are available now and can be accessed via the Fitness Games Zone webpage. We are also further professional learning modules to support you through this disruptive and challenging time. These will likely be delivered via our LMS. More information will be provided shortly.
- Online tutoring
We are presently reviewing our capacity to support children and families via tutoring in efforts to further understand how we can continue to support you with employment opportunities. Please be aware there are also many organisations operating in this space currently that may be able to assist you with opportunities in the immediate future.
What is anzuk’s long term plan surrounding this pandemic?
- We see remote learning delivery as an opportunity for education. We are presently taking steps to help build capacity within educators in remote learning delivery and will be working closely with schools and governing bodies to understand how we can further refine our practice as a service provider to effectively support learning in this space into the future. This includes the prospect of opportunities available via tutoring.
If it is sound medical advice that people maintain a social distance of at least 1.5 metres why are most schools even operating?
- So far cases of COVID 19 in school-aged children are very low. Our leaders and medical officers across the country have to date adjudged schools as low risk which to our knowledge is why schools have largely remained open. Vigilance in social distancing along with self-assessment are ways we as an education community can continue to help combat the spread of the virus while enabling the continuation of learning.
What should I do if the school doesn’t have adequate hand sanitiser or disinfectant?
- Publicity surrounding this indicates access to supplies has been the primary challenge here. We have been informed that access to supplies has recently improved enabling schools to more readily have available resources they require to help provide safe workplaces for their staff and students. Where possible it is encouraged that you take along your own hand sanitiser. You are also encouraged to notify our team if at any stage you identify hazards of any form that can impact the health and safety of you or others.
Will we receive a notification if an educator or student contracts coronavirus within a workplace we are or have recently been employed?
- Schools are required to notify our team of any instance where there is concern around this type of exposure. Should this occur, all information will be gathered before contacting and speaking with the individual/s concerned.
Should we be provided masks to help prevent contraction of coronavirus?
- The following fact sheet is available regarding the benefit of surgical masks to prevent contraction of coronavirus. According to this document, surgical masks are more valuable in preventing a carrier of coronavirus from transmitting the illness. They are not however regarded as an effective way to prevent contraction of the disease. Please review further if you are interested to learn more.
Will teachers be allowed to wear a mask for protection when working at school?
- Should you feel more comfortable wearing a face mask and have a concern about how the school may respond we encourage you to please discuss this with your managing consultant. We can speak with schools on your behalf and will confirm if they are comfortable with you doing so.
What regulations will schools place on CRT’s to minimise any spread of Covid-19?
- We are aware eLearning is a very real possibility however at this stage we cannot confirm what else is available to schools in helping combat this disease. Schools will be receiving guidance from governing bodies and we will be working closely with them to support any steps identified as necessary to curb further spread of the illness.
When will testing of students and staff, before entering school, take place?
- Some countries have effectively implemented this control measure however we do not have any information currently that indicates it may be employed in Australian schools.
Can anzuk match educators regard as more vulnerable with lower risk workplaces? E.g. Special education settings may be regarded as a higher risk due to the hands-on nature of the children.
- We encourage you to please be open with our team about your concerns and needs. We do not at any stage want you going into a workplace that you do not feel comfortable in for any reason.
Can you please touch on any updated protocols around supporting students with disabilities in both mainstream and special education settings?
- We will review this with our schools and will come back to you when we have further information.
Are we required to provide a medical certificate before entering the workplace?
- Not per current legislation unless you are recovering from a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 or if you have been in contact with an individual with a confirmed case of COVID-19 for a period longer than 15 minutes.
Will the VIT and other governing bodies provide concessions for teachers working toward professional practice requirements?
- We will investigate this further and will come back to you.
What initiatives are in place to help support the well-being of educators through this challenging time?
- We are currently investigating an employee assistance program (EAP) capable of delivering webinar content focusing on a range of subjects related to mental health and well-being. We are also reviewing a series of professional learning initiatives we can offer via our learning management system (LMS) targeting other areas of professional development to support you through this time. You are also encouraged to speak with your managing consultant and family and friends. Maintaining open lines of communication is important and will ensure others are able to support you in moments of need.
If we are working from home and as such supporting our students online, will we be paid the normal daily rate by anzuk?
- There is no indication currently that pay rates will fall under current market rates.
If schools are still operating in term two and beyond and I choose to not make myself available due to concerns of the coronavirus still being an issue, will I be taken off as a casual employee with anzuk?
- No. We may edit your status within our system to ensure we can accurately manage school requirements; however, we respect decisions that are best for the individual and will continue to support you in any way we can.
Is compensation available in the event confirmed placements are cancelled?
- There, a variety of factors that may lead to a school cancelling an existing placement. We have experienced some cancellations in recent weeks due to lower than expected student enrolment’s and this is a scenario likely to occur again term 2. All efforts will be made to retain confirmed shifts whether students at school or learning from home. We are however a service-based business meaning we can only pay educators for work completed.
Will compensation be available if I am unable to work due to contracting the illness?
Is compensation available to those caring for others affected by the coronavirus?
- Income support
The Economic response to coronavirus fact sheet highlights expanded access to income support for people whose employment is affected by COVID-19. The government announced a further $66 billion will be made available with a time-limited supplement of $550 per fortnight for income support recipients. This will come into effect from the 27th of April.
It is important to note that currently, you must still satisfy existing criteria to receive income support. Applications should be submitted via the MyGov website.
What financial support is available to people that do not qualify for income support due to residency-based rules?
- We have been working with the Recruitment, Consulting and Staffing Association (RCSA) to present this very matter to the government. We have information indicating this is currently been discussed at the federal level however we are uncertain what the outcome will be. Our team will be taking steps to contact all educators unable to access income support due to residency rules. We are aware many people have returned to their home countries however we request anyone still in Australia to please contact our team if we have not already spoken with you.
WATCH THE FULL WEBINAR HERE: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/631719313950458632