Global from anzuk Education on Vimeo.

The views and opinions expressed in this article and video are those of the authors. Please use the World Health Organisation 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

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Daniel:

Good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening, everybody. And I want to thank you all for attending our global education in a pandemic state. We have our managing director from New Zealand online, Stu, we have James Sanders, our US CEO online from his home office in… Whereabouts do you live again, James?

James Sanders:

Cheviot Hills, Los Angeles.

Daniel:

Los Angeles. And we have Ben Goldsmith online from Wimbledon in London. Welcome, Ben.

Ben Goldsmith:

Thank you.

Daniel:

And Rowan one of my colleagues here working with me as a special comments guest today. He works alongside us here at anzuk headquarters in Melbourne. So again, I want to thank everybody for joining us today from various areas around the world. We’re experiencing something that’s never really happened in our lifetimes, and it’s all very new to us. So today’s webinar and gathering is designed to give everybody an awareness of what’s happening around the world in the education areas that we supply and also how we’re navigating through and what we’re doing to support our communities. So again, thanks for joining us.

Daniel:

Now, you can ask questions at any time through the webinar. We will try our best to answer your questions as they come through. We may not be able to answer them all while we’re speaking or while we’re communicating to each other, but we will endeavour to get a handout together for everybody and some information back to all the attendees, which will address each of your questions as we go. So feel free to pop any of those questions on.

Daniel:

So I’d like to start just with a general overview from what I’ve been experiencing over the last few weeks where the situation has really accelerated in the areas that we live in and that we supply. Yeah, we’re all very aware of the situation that started pre-2020 in the Hubei province in China. It just seems so long ago. I remember heading away for my family holiday to WA. I was on the road with my family for three weeks. It was one of the most amazing holidays I’ve had, spending some quality time without any knowledge or any understanding of what was happening in China. Fast forward four months, and the world as we know it has changed forever.

Daniel:

It’s over 850,000 cases now confirmed, and they are only the ones that have been tested. So we’ve got an incredibly long road ahead of us as a globe and as nations. We’ve got an incredibly long road ahead of us as a community. And so tonight we’d like to just share with you our experiences, what we’re doing, and hopefully answer some of your questions. I’ll start with Australia. Our Prime Minister in Australia, he’s been knocked quite a bit in the media over the last six to 12 months just with his handling of some situations and some catastrophes like the bushfire here in Oz, which was incredibly hard to look at, at the beginning of the year.

Daniel:

But from where I sit, and it might not be a shared view, but so far I think he’s been a really strong leader through the coronavirus situation. They did something that I think was the right thing to do by putting together a national cabinet to bring together all of the states and all of those really important stakeholders, the health departments and the leaders of every state, to try and get some unity in how we make decisions and how we communicate back to the rest of our population and community. And while we won’t agree with everything, every decision that the cabinet makes, we’re probably not as informed as what they are in terms of when they’re making decisions.

Daniel:

So from where we sit, our sort of progression into a stage three right now, which is recommendation of not to go outside, not congregating in groups of over two people, the social distancing, and all of those recommended things that we need to do to stop the spread has been very consistent over the period that we’ve been having communications from our government. One of the things that I think is really interesting from our perspective is the consistency in message from the Prime Minister that schools will open on the 15th of April for Term 2. And they will be open for any children of essential workers.

Daniel:

Now essential workers have been classified differently around the world. In Australia, an essential worker is classed as somebody who has a job. And that has been consistent the whole way through because what our government has tried to do is nurse our economy and nursing the coronavirus situation from day one. And some people will agree with that, and some people won’t. But what we’re finding and what we’re seeing in the initial stages of coronavirus cases is that there are some gradual drops. But it does show that that decision making has been very considered, very measured, and the initial response and what it’s shown us is that the economy can keep moving, and we can control the spread of coronavirus.

Daniel:

So for schools especially and for teachers and for our community, we have really promising signs that the way that the Australian government here has moved through it that things can get back to normal here. Not back to the normal is we see it as what we’ve experienced previously, but certainly into some normality. And the speed of that where we’re really not going to know until we get to the 15th of April in the next two weeks and see what behaviors and what changes we’ve made across our community and how that impacts those numbers.

Daniel:

James, I’ll cross to you over in the USA because I think we’re all witnessing something in the USA, which is incredibly scary. Thanks, James for joining us.

James Sanders:

Sure. Thanks, Daniel. Hi, everyone. Yeah, so my name is James Sanders. I’m the CEO of our US business, which is called Scoot Education instead of anzuk or EP. So yeah, in the US we now have the most cases of any country on the planet. We are well on our track to unfortunately become the country with the most deaths as well. And we’re finding out about some of the issues that presents itself in a country that is very focused on different regions. There’s a reason this country is called the United States of America. It is truly 50 different states with 50 different rules of law and decision making processes. And we’re finding things like privatized health care and also hospitals that have spent a long time running on maximum efficiency we now discover is actually a recipe for not enough resources in times of high demand.

James Sanders:

But I’ll give a perspective on, in terms of the business, what we’ve experienced. So just so everyone knows, mostly we operate in California with our offices in Los Angeles as well as San Francisco. So I’ll speak mainly to what we are experiencing in California. Fortunately we’re actually not seeing… Although we have 8,000 to 9,000 cases here in California, that’s far less than the 70,000 to 80,000 cases that are in New York State. So we’re fairing reasonably well compared to other parts of this country, and hopefully we continue to do so. We were one of the first states to put in a shelter in place order. And unlike other parts in the world, our shelter in place orders are not as rigorously enforced as they could be, but the whole state of California has been told by the governor to shelter in place, but at this point there’s no fines for not complying with that order.

James Sanders:

80% of America is now under the same situation. So there’s still 20% of the country that does not have a shelter in place order. Schools, every school in California that I’m aware of has closed its physical location and will very likely continue that status until at least the 1st of May. So all the schools that we work with have moved to online instruction. They have not completely closed, and we are expecting… We are preparing for schools to hopefully come back in May, but we’re aware that the school year here, of course, finishes early to mid June for a long summer break until August or September. And we think it’s quite likely that schools here will remain in an online instruction mode until the new school year starts in August. And that’s where in person instruction will resume.

James Sanders:

Now a lot of people in California, a lot of families, rely on their schools not just for instruction and curriculum, but they also rely on their schools for supervision and three meals a day. So LAUSD, the Los Angeles Unified School District, is the second largest in the country. It has about 700,000 students. About 80% of those students are at or below the poverty line, and those students rely on their school for meals. So that’s one of the very real, very challenging consequences of this decision to go to online learning. Fortunately, a lot of the schools that we work with plus LAUSD schools have worked out ways to have centralised centres, which are food distribution centres so that people can come to one of these centres and collect meals each day. But it’s sort of one of the consequences that a lot of people didn’t consider when schools began to move to online instruction.

James Sanders:

A few more thoughts into or update in terms of what’s happening here. America has taken in terms of supporting employees such as teachers who don’t have work at the moment, particularly substitute teachers… As you can imagine, the need for substitute teachers has decreased very, very significantly since the start of March. So where in other countries that we represent the government has decided to provide funding to the employer to then distribute to the employee, what we are doing in the US and what Scoot has… There’s a few different options available, but Scoot has elected to do in the US, is to support people going directly to the government, the state and federal governments, for support.

James Sanders:

Last week the Cares Act was signed into law, and that’s a $2 trillion dollar support package for employees and employers. That includes a $600 per week payment to employees who have seen their job opportunities decrease due to COVID-19. So our employees are receiving unemployment benefits through the government as well as a $600 per week top-up from the federal government as well. So we’re seeing different strategies across our four nations play out in real time, and we’ll be able to see which worked best in a few months from now.

James Sanders:

The last thing I’ll say is we do bring Australian teachers to the US, and we are continuing to give educators that opportunity to work in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, or San Diego starting in the next school year. So as you can imagine, we’ve stopped bringing Australian teachers to the US at the moment. But if you are interested in learning more about opportunities to teach in America towards the end of this calendar year, hopefully when this pandemic is behind us, we are actually hosting a webinar for people who are interested in an hour and a half. So if you go to anzuk.educate/au/events, you can get information about how to attend that webinar. So that’s the update from the United States, Dan.

Daniel:

Thank you, James. Appreciate the update, and I love that little marketing slip in there at the end about the US, which will be open for business again. We know that. Ben, the situation has taken quite a pivot in the UK also. We’ve seen the devastation happening in Italy and Spain and right through the middle of Western Europe. Can you give us a little bit of an update, and some insight into the UK and how the situation has impacted the overseas teachers, but also how the government is responding and what’s been put in place in the UK?

Ben Goldsmith:

Sure. Hi, everyone. Good evening. If there are any UK people on here, welcome to you, too. I know it’s late. I wanted to focus a bit more on, I guess, the impact to the wider community as opposed to… Or more the local communities as opposed to the whole world or the UK. I think you can turn on any news channel, you can look at any news app, and in five seconds you can get a really good overview of exactly how many cases there are and how many deaths. And I think that just to cover that off again is not really necessary, but I think I find it really difficult to summarise the last two weeks for us here. It feels like the last two weeks has been one big long day, and that’s because of the pace of the way that this thing has moved, the decisions that had been made, the legislation and the guidance that’s been created overnight.

Ben Goldsmith:

Schools were ordered to close here on the 20th of March and without an end date. So there was talk of a loose 12 weeks to enable the UK, if we’re able to continue our social distancing policy, which a lot of people are finding quite challenging. But they do remain open for people who are key workers the same way that they do in Australia and also for us here in provisions, which means that head teachers are still in at school, and they’re still driving their teams. And I’m going to talk a little bit about that later. Our year 11 and year 13 exams have all been canceled. So there’s a huge impact to those students that won’t be able to sit those exams. I think they’re probably still, again, trying to work through how we finally give those peoples a grading for this year. I think that they’ll probably go down a history as the group of 2020.

Ben Goldsmith:

It leaves us with 10 million peoples being homeschooled in the UK, which is a phenomenal amount of people, a phenomenal amount of kids that are having to be homeschooled. And as a parent with my six year old, I feel for every single one of those parents trying to maintain a work life balance and effectively be the teacher for their children. There are also thousands of educators out of work, thousands of supply teachers. We’ve seen a hundred educators leave the UK to be with their families and loved ones, which, again, I think Rona is going to talk about later. Can’t blame them for that at all, and we wish you all the best. And it’s great that we’re able to support those that have gone back in some capacity. And I hope that when we get through the other side, we can continue to do that wherever you are around the world.

Ben Goldsmith:

There is understandably still an awful lot of confusion, and I know a lot of you will all have tuned in today looking for answers. A lot of those answers currently are still being written, and we’re still trying to work through them. There is a lot of positives, and the government here have pledged an unprecedented $330 billion. Doesn’t quite compare to the $2 trillion, but it’s a huge amount of money, and it’s there to support every individual and business through this challenging time. Something I found really interesting that was since the 20th… Sorry.

Ben Goldsmith:

Throughout March and since the pandemic started breaking, the virus started to gather momentum into Europe, there’s been over a hundred official pieces of documentation, whether that’s legislation, whether that’s government guidance, or what have you, on changes to laws to allow people to take advantage of schemes and what have you. 100… So I can understand how frustrating and confusing it is for everybody. It’s frustrating for us, and we’re 15 hours a day sifting through this stuff. So yeah, I know we’re going to talk about how we communicate. We’re going to talk about how we communicate that a bit later. But, rest assured we are working tirelessly to make sure that we’re on the forefront of it. And we will communicate that to everybody over the course of the coming days and weeks.

Daniel Mundy:

Thank you, Ben, I hope I’ve pronounced your name right. Has asked the question here, “Knowing that schools have gone online how will this impact us casual relief teaches?” We’ll get to that, Caturay. We’ve spent an incredible amount of time over the last three weeks. Especially in Australia. Once we heard and there was whispers about schools closing, and once we received the first COVID-19 shut down in Australia, which was Carey Grammar in Melbourne, they activated their online learning policy immediately, as soon as that school had shut down.

Daniel Mundy:

Now, we certainly can understand they’re are a big private school, they have lots of infrastructure and resources and funds behind them to be able to transfer their learning online. What we’ve found across the majority of our Catholic and government schools, they’re really not set up to do it because they haven’t invested in the infrastructure. We surveyed 400 schools the week prior to holidays, and we have a very skewed response back on the what online learning means across those schools and how they’re going to manage it. So we will speak to that question a little bit more, Caturay, as we go.

Daniel Mundy:

We’ve spent the last two weeks gathering as much information as we can about conferencing equipment, online learning, what types of mediums are going to be used. We’re putting together some training programs around that to ensure that all of our casual relief teachers have access to increase those skills and improve those skills before term two begins.

Daniel Mundy:

Now, we’re calling educators every day as well. And sorry, Stu, I will cross to you in a minute to give us a bit of an update on New Zealand. I thought it would be great just to answer Caturay here. We’re talking to educators who are already booked in next term to deliver an extended period of online learning because the normal teacher or the full time teacher won’t be able to go back to school because of some type of care arrangement, because of some type of longterm illness or they could be on maternity leave. So we do envisage there is going to be a need for casual relief teachers from term two onwards. How great that need is, we’re still not 100% sure or we’re not quite sure, but it will depend on how quickly those classrooms build up, and it will depend on how many of those essential work are children are comfortable to come to school.

Daniel Mundy:

My wife showed me a post the other day and it said, “Parents are about to realise it’s not the teacher’s fault.” So it sort of really does explain that as parents we do often judge the school system and we judge our teachers. But this is going to be a very difficult test and a challenging test for a lot of parents who are not only working from home in their makeshift home office in the bedroom or at the kitchen table or wherever it is that they’ve had to set up their office because they don’t have the space. They’ve got to work from home. And they’ve got to look after their kids at the same time. Now once you start to do that for an extended period past a week or two or three or four or five or six weeks, that becomes incredibly challenging.

Daniel Mundy:

So, we’re still not sure yet how schools are going to respond. Right now in Australia and New Zealand we’re in a bit of a stage three lockdown. Which is aimed to try and get us back on our feet as quickly as possible. I’ll pass over to Stu. Sorry, we’ve got [Kerry K. 00:05:11] here. “Can you give us some more information about the furlough scheme?” Kerry that’s coming. So just told tight, Ben’s going to speak to that just in a little moment. And, “Do we have enough time to train CRTs before term starts?” [Kolji Cur 00:27:23]

Daniel Mundy:

Look, Kolji, that’s. And I think that comes down to the time that that CRTs have to put into that online learning content and the time that they have to practice. It’ll all be down to those individual commitments that people are prepared to make to get themselves ready. There’ll be CRTs that are at home with children, people that have got things do, and that is going to be a bit of a challenge. We’re very empathetic to that, but if we can provide people with the online content that they need, at least that gives people the flexibility of when they consume that and when they are able to engage with it to help improve themselves.

Daniel Mundy:

It won’t be just through a time specific webinar. But if it is, then we’ll post the webinar up for everybody to get the content at their choice when it’s convenient to them. Stuart, I’ll pass over to you. We actually have a question here from [Riandi Visale 00:06:33]. “Will teachers be able to still register at all to the Teaching Council of New Zealand, when there are lots of rumors of only being able to enter the country once a vaccination is in place?” Not sure how accurate that information is. Maybe you can touch on that after we hear from Stuart Birch, our Managing Director in New Zealand. Welcome Stuart.

Stuart Birch:

Cheers Daniel. Good to be here and really interesting from down our end the world to hear what’s happening from Ben and James and yourself around the world. I guess just a little bit of an update regarding sort of what’s happening down here and then happy to answer that question. So currently we’re in tight lockdown here. We’re at level four on our alert system. It’s a system that was put in about 10 days ago. We started on level two. Within three days, I think, we were on level three, and two days after that we were on level four. And level four basically means that all schools are closed. And all schools are closed… We’re on level four lockdown until the end of April, and so over the holidays have been brought forward to cover one of those weeks. Schools have been told that they are to be prepared during our school holidays. They have to get themselves for paid to do online learning for when schools open again. I think it’s around 14th, 15th April, in that sort of ballpark.

Stuart Birch:

All businesses and government have physical premises closed except for essential services, and essential services is pretty much supermarkets, doctors, government, pharmacy and very few New Zealand workplaces are open. We, ep.education, are fully operational, we’re all set up and working from home, and so are delivering services as required. Which as you can imagine with all schools closed, demand is pretty low at this point in time for teachers. I guess the government in New Zealand made the decision to… As our prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said, “To go hard and go early.” We intend to lockdown pretty soon. I think we’ve still only got, countrywide, less than a thousand cases, and still we’re in this really strong lockdown.

Stuart Birch:

We’ve got a new word that’s entered our national language, which is our bubble. Each household is required to have a bubble, and those are the only people that you’re allowed to be in contact with. Generally that is the people within your household, the people that you live with. In some cases it’s extended out to include one family member. There is a scheme in place where the children of essential workers can get a nanny come in. And what happens is their nanny joins the bubble of the family that they are supporting in home, and those two families essentially become part of the same bubble. And so everyone in New Zealand is now talking about who’s in their bubble and who’s not.

Stuart Birch:

We’ve got a couple of new heroes over here. I think our PM, as some of you around the world would have heard, as a country we were pretty impressed by her response to the tragedy that happened in New Zealand and in March, the shooting we had over here, and I guess once again our PM has really stepped up and taken a strong lead. There’s another chap called Ashley Bloomfield, who none of us had ever heard of, he’s the Secretary of Health. No one had ever heard of them until about 10 days ago and he’s very quickly become a national icon delivering briefings every day on what’s happening in the health sector. We are hearing about Kiwis coming home and there’s been a large influx in. We’re not yet seeing teachers on the ground from that. We’re not sure whether they’re just still settling in, still making their way home because there are arrivals every day, or still in isolation and just not sure at this point how many of the Kiwi teachers working overseas are coming home.

Stuart Birch:

We’re currently looking at other employment options for our teachers. Whether that be helping out as caregivers for emergency teachers, for essential services workers or whether that be setting teachers up for online learning. The online delivery over here is still very unknown. As Daniel indicated in Australia, some of the schools are very well set up for it. Others, this is a whole new scenario. And for many Kiwi households, reality is that devices for online learning are not an everyday thing that they have lying around the house. Internet connection, you can’t take that for granted. And every Kiwi home, either due to socioeconomic sort of deprivation or isolation, there’s a large number of rural people that don’t have that sort of broadband connection that us city folk are used to.

Stuart Birch:

Most schools and Early Childhood centers are not hiring at the moment. Early Childhood’s put a pretty strong hold on hiring and many of those are privately run businesses, and are taking a very cautious approach. Schools are just very busy doing other things. They had two days notice of shutting down and the instruction from the government to get set up for online learning has put a lot of demands on them. So we’ve got a good number of educators due to arrive to be starting teaching a New Zealand in a few weeks. A couple of those got into the country prior to the border closing. But there’s a lot offshore at the moment waiting to come, and schools waiting for them to arrive.

Stuart Birch:

The government have been really active in terms of subsidies and supporting the payroll for teachers. Ep.education are claiming for those government subsidies and we believe that’ll allow us to continue paying our regular casual teachers, for the next 12 weeks, a large percentage of their normal earnings. Government itself have to have done a similar thing for the teachers that we place into government schools. Those teachers in New Zealand are paid by the government. And the government have agreed to pay those teachers on their average earnings continuing through the lockdown time.

Stuart Birch:

So, we’re really hoping down here that because the government acted so quickly and so decisively that we’re ahead of the curve. We’re already seeing the number of COVID cases starting to drop, and while that probably won’t last because the government are really ramping up the testing, they’re even talking this morning about random COVID testing. We do think that we are ahead of it, and I guess reasonably hopeful that this level four lockdown will only last for the four weeks. We’re certainly not going to get back to normal after that. We may be back to a level three lockdown. The level four may be extended, but we’re hoping that that effect on New Zealand will be a short, sharp shock. Daniel, shall I go ahead and answer that question about teacher registration? Would that be useful at this point or do you want me to hold that till later?

Daniel Mundy:

Maybe just hold that one till later, Stu. We’ve got a couple of questions here just in relation to the vulnerable student cohorts right across our network. Holly, thanks for your question as well, in terms of education support, the short answer to you, Holly, is that education support, they still, I think, are still considered essential in schools. If students are in schools and they are funded and there is provision for education support, I know that you will be required, and covering education support as per usual will be required. When schools are shut, clearly that will be impacted. But there are a number of initiatives in place around the globe in terms of income support for people whose income has been affected from the fallout of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Daniel Mundy:

We also had a question here from, I think it’s Elise Thomason. “In terms of childcare age group zero to five, is it inline with schools? Is it considered an essential service?” I think one of the most interesting things about this, Elise, is that childcare services here in Australia have remained open this entire time. The problem has been that because there have been so many job losses, parents can’t afford to send their children to childcare anymore. Now there’s been a few changes that have happened across the funding arrangements for the childcare subsidy. Parents will still have their childcare subsidy funding for 12 weeks while they pull their children out. But parents are is still very fearful of children getting COVID-19 while at childcare. So, right now in this transition period, it’s certainly impacting the numbers of people in childcare, which hence increases the supply and the need for educators to cover people who are full time, but also who are employed due to the ratios. So it’s a little bit of a different situation, and we believe childcare… It will take a little bit more time for childcare to get back on its feet because a lot of the childcare need is going to be based around employment and everybody getting back to work and into it work. That’s especially here in Australia, the other guys around the world might be able to answer differently to that.

Daniel Mundy:

So, Melanie’s put a question here. “At this point service and care in Australia is still required to support our health carers and essential businesses. What are your educators feeling about going to different services with possibly different protocols and procedures? Social distancing is not completely achievable in the zero to two years.” Thanks for that question, Melanie. You are absolutely spot on. People have a very different view to COVID-19, they look at it in different ways. Whichever way you view it there, there is always a risk when you’re outside of your own four walls, there’s a risk of coming in contact with COVID-19. When you go to the grocery store, as I do, you’re at risk. We’ve got 15 cases in the local area where I live and it’s something that we… It’s a challenge that we’re all meeting every day. The virus lives on surfaces. Making sure that we wash our hands regularly, making sure that we try not to touch our faces. Gee, that’s hard with three kids I can tell you, I’m forever just hitting their hands down from their faces at the moment, and my wife does it to me.

Daniel Mundy:

It’s tough to do, but at the end of the day it’s up to each educator and each person on the level of risk they’re prepared to expose themselves to. As a service provider we’re trying to give our educators as much knowledge and as much training as we can to ensure they are as fully prepared as they can to meet the risk. We’re still trying for everybody to go on with normal life and keep as normal as we can. It’s difficult to do, but everybody has a different appetite for risk in the current situation.

Daniel Mundy:

We’ve got a question from Angela here. “Will international teachers in Australia be eligible for jobkeeper payments?” Angela, that’s a great question. It’s one that we’re working through right now. At the moment the provision for jobkeeper payments does not apply to international educators on working holiday makers or temporary visas. It does apply across to the 444 visa for New Zealand and for those permanent residents, but it doesn’t qualify right now for international teachers. We’re working on… We’re trying to get in touch and in communication with the Department of Education here in, especially Victoria, where a lot of our casual employees are working. We haven’t been able to achieve that yet. We were very close today, but the appointment got canceled. At the moment, I think what’s happening is that the government is holding out as long as they can right now to determine whether schools are going to go back on the 15th. Now, if they resume on the 15th as per normal, I believe that there will be work available. At the moment.

Daniel:

There will be work available. At the moment, the only downturn we’ve experienced so far, especially in Australia, is the first three or four days of the holidays. Sorry, the last three or four days of the term because we’re now in our school holidays where they wouldn’t be any casual work anyway so we have a little bit of time to work through it for our international educators but certainly it’s a critical part of our preparing and our preparation towards that. Stu, if you wanted to answer that question now around teacher registration for Rhiandi, go for it.

Stu:

Yeah, sure. Rhiandi, so the situation at the moment is both the NZQA who assess teaching qualifications for New Zealand and the Teaching Council are working from home so business is continuing for them. Teachers are being registered, practicing certificates are being issued. There is some difficulty around the Teaching Council as the requirements at the moment are still for physical documents and so they’re unable to get physical documents that are sent into the office during this time of lockdown so that is making a few things more difficult but work is continuing there and so if your application’s in, it will continue to be processed.

Stu:

You also asked about the borders. Currently at the moment, our teachers are still applying for and being issued visas when they come to New Zealand. It is a little bit complicated as those visas, even with a temporary work visa, you’re not allowed to enter the country at the moment until the current border controls are lifted. For anyone in New Zealand on a work visa, either working holiday or temporary work, those have been automatically extended through til September. So if you’re already in the country, there’s an automatic extension on the visa there.

Stu:

The other thing you asked about was border controls and that at the moment is a real unknown. Only New Zealand residents, their children and partners, New Zealand residents and citizens are allowed to enter at the moment. How that’s extended, a little bit hard to know. Jacinda has certainly indicated that border controls will be part of the ongoing management of COVID, but there’s no ideas or signs at this stage what that might look like.

Stu:

Currently, the requirement is that anyone coming back into New Zealand goes into quarantine and the government have set up quarantine sites around the international airports. Self-isolation is also an option if people can demonstrate that they’ve got good self-isolation plans in place, so hopefully that’s helpful.

Daniel:

Thank you very much for that Stu. I have to say we’ve had Linda Western join us from New Zealand, our candidate care team manager down there. She’s doing a fantastic job with the team I have to say, thank you Linda.

Daniel:

Stu, no applications for the Council are being received since the 25th of March. They’re all currently on hold at the moment. We’re going to cross over to Ben. We’ve had a couple of questions here Ben in relation to the UK furloughs, so we might just quickly give a brief, as brief as you can, about the furlough. In terms of the JobKeeper, we’ll keep that brief as well.

Daniel:

The JobKeeper initiative is still being decided and agreed here in Australia. We’re getting advice from the ATO, from our accounting firm and from the Recruiting and Consulting Services Association as to who the JobKeeper payment allowance can be applied to and how it’s applied. We don’t have that final agreement and we don’t have the final sign off on that payment just yet and we need to make sure that that is all legitimate and approved before we start to pay out to anybody who’s entitled to their payment.

Daniel:

Ben, I’ll cross over to you for the furlough pay. We’ve got a question here from Frank Farshi, I think it’s Farshi. A question for Ben, “Will the half term in February be factored in for the assessment of furlough pay?” And one of the other questions that we had earlier is, “Can you give us a little bit of an understanding on furlough and how it’s going to work in the UK?”

Ben:

Okay. Wow, that’s a high level question. Short answer is yes. Better answer is tomorrow at 05:30 UK time, there’s a webinar being run with industry leaders. So we’ve got Samarli who’s the operations director and Richard Maitland, who is one of the partners with one of our accounting firms who’s on the front line dealing with HMRC on the furlough process.

Ben:

What I can tell you is that yes, absolutely the government are running a job retention scheme to make sure that any worker can recover some funds from either being made redundant or not having the ability to work through school closures and what have you. As an agency ANZ UK, we’re actively working through furloughing a large number of our educators and the communication around that has already gone out.

Ben:

Again, as Daniel said, we were still in the eligibility stages of. We haven’t got full guidance from HMRC yet on visa statuses and holiday makers, ancestry visas, what have you but we believe that anyone that’s on our PAYE scheme and who was, maybe I can double up here, who was on the 28th of February and they’ve been paid since that point. Sorry, I’ll add that point and on our scheme then will be eligible for the scheme.

Ben:

So webinar tomorrow 5:30, Tyler and the crew will definitely answer your questions a lot more comprehensively. We’ve also sent out several pieces of correspondence in communication around furlough and what the government plans around it. Again I must reiterate, this stuff’s coming out daily and we’re working as hard as we can to get through it, summarize it and get it out to you all but please, if anyone wanted to ask any questions directly, feel free to contact me and I’ll do my very best to get back to you as soon as I possibly can.

Daniel:

Thanks for that Ben. We’ve got a question here from Steven Rudolph. Prediction models show 8,000 cases, and this is Australia, cases by the 14th of the 4th 2020 with three in every 10,000 people infected and a total student cohort of 4 million. This would mean just over 1000 students are potentially infected. Is this an acceptable risk for ANZ UK? That’s a very good question Steven and those numbers are scary to say the least. Is it an acceptable risk for us?

Daniel:

As an organisation, we accept risk in our schools every day. The OH&S responsibility shared with schools, the liability and the coverage that we have with WorkCover, the potential accidents that happen while people are under employment, there is a level of risk we have to accept every day. The only thing that we can go by right now is the recommendations by the government, what we can do to control the spread of coronavirus. We can keep our hands washed. Every educator we’re trying to get them through the COVID control of infectious disease training, I’ve done that myself over the last couple of days. It really comes down to our vigilance and what we can do as educators and what people are prepared to accept themselves.

Daniel:

We don’t want to stop people from going to work if that’s what they need. We understand that some people need to be at work for their own health and wellbeing so it’s the choice that people have to make as to whether or not they are prepared to accept the exposure or whether they’re not. We have the coverage in place to cover them underneath our WorkCover and underneath our insurance but my level of risk that I’m prepared to accept and an educator’s risk that they’re prepared to accept, they’re different and some may accept, some may not. We’ve got to respect everybody’s wishes with this and we’ve got to prepare every educator as much as we can based on the information that we have at any current point in time.

Daniel:

So we can look at predictions and we can look at the facts of when we get to the 14th what it’s looking like. If we believe that there’s too great a risk or there’s a risk in particular areas, then we will be informing our educators prior to going into a school and accepting any work but we’ll also make sure that all of our educators in our communities are taking the necessary precautions to help slow the spread of coronavirus and what we’ve seen around Australia as you would have seen yourself, there’s a lot of activity still around our streets, there’s a lot of businesses that are still working, there’s building sites open, our hospitals, our essential services, we haven’t stopped yet and until we get that direction from our government that we must stay indoors, we have to inform our educators but we also have to let them make the choice on what it is they need to do to keep their mental health and wellbeing and to keep themselves ahead of potentially some of the things that could affect their own personal situations.

Daniel:

So that’s the best I can answer that Steven. I’m happy to take any further questions offline and certainly any other questions from any of our educators who are concerned, that’s what we’re here for and we’re here to support in any way that we can.

Daniel:

I’m sort of looking through our slide deck here we’ve been able to touch on many of the areas in the slide deck so we’re not moving through that in any order at the moment. I think what we’ll do right now is we’ll move a bit more to international travel, I think that would be a great unless you want to share anything there James based on the conversation, you’ve been a bit quiet there from the US.

James:

No, not too many questions for the US yet but that’s okay. I think our situation is a little simpler then that because schools have all moved to online instruction and expect to do so for quite a bit longer. We don’t have these considerations around level of risk tolerance because it is all online at the moment so no, I

don’t need to add anything.

Daniel:

Thank you James. I hope my response to Steven before Holly was able to give you some clarity. If we do get sick on the job, will ANZ UK support us financially? If you do contract COVID-19 while you’re under assignment, you are certainly covered. If you get hurt on any school site Holly, you’re always covered underneath our insurance and there has been information come WorkCover and from our insurers that if anybody is exposed to COVID-19 on their job, they’re certainly covered.

Daniel:

We’re hoping and we’re working hard to ensure that that doesn’t happen. Every school, they’re ensuring that they’re cleaning more than usual and we’re making sure that we prepare educators with the washing of hands, the general information around coughing into your shirt, not touching your face. We’re all trying to do our bit to slow the spread and thankfully at the moment, it seems to be working here in Australia and across the ditch in New Zealand but we know that that situation can change quickly if we’re not diligent and if we don’t do our bit.

Daniel:

We’ve had some contributing here from I think Mary at EP had sent some information here. Yeah, Mary. Thanks Mary. Mary from EP Education in Wellington here. She’s been suggesting to teachers that are here on visas who are not entitled to any benefits to check out their homeland embassies to see if there are any provisions for remote support. I think that’s a good suggestion Mary.

Daniel:

I’m not quite sure where that will get to but it’s a good suggestion for people to check it out in addition to what we’re trying to do with our governments in getting some information and getting some commitment on how working holiday makers and those people who aren’t citizens of a particular country where they are, how can we support them because we know those educators are going to be critical to ensuring that schools can meet their demand when this passes, hopefully in the next two to six months and when I say six months, I’m looking into America and looking into other regions, I certainly don’t feel that that will be a consistent timeframe here in Australia and New Zealand, I think things will get back to normal a bit faster here, not that I can give you a date on that at the moment.

Daniel:

What if the virus will remain inactive but still present in the bodies of people that are currently infected so they will continue to infect the rest of us? Wouldn’t this be a very expensive waste of time for our children, for us? Lorelei, it’s a great observation that you make and I’m not qualified to answer that one. I’m not an infectious diseases expert, I’m sure that the virus will remain in some bodies and I’m sure that the people who’ve had the virus, it may remain in them for a long time but they’ll be protected from it.

Daniel:

There’s always going to be a danger, it’s like the flu, it’s like anything and COVID-19 isn’t going to go away when schools go back. It’s not going to go away in a month or three months. COVID-19 will be with us for six months, 12 months, for longer until they’ve got a vaccine so there’s always going to be a danger and there’s always going to be a risk and I can’t quantify what that will be and what level of risk people will be prepared to accept based on the facts that we have at our hands.

Daniel:

No worries. David Barclay has given us a question here, “Should teacher wear a face mask in class if they return to the workplace?” David, that’s going to be a choice that you’ll need to make and it will be a choice that’ll probably need to be discussed with each workplace that you move into. If you’re intending to wear a face mask into any client site, we would urge you to let us know that that’s your intention so that we can speak to the school. I’m sure that it won’t be a problem but if culturally the school community isn’t wearing one and you are, we’d be concerned that would be viewed in maybe an alarming sight. I mean, it’d have to be a site by site decision.

Daniel:

There’s a lot of conflicting information around face masks, the type of face masks and whether they do prevent and support or slow the spread of COVID-19. I’ve watched a couple of great documentaries on face masks and people’s strong opinions that they do. What’s been communicated us to here from our government is that they don’t but there’s no evidence to suggest they do, but I’m certainly of mixed opinion now so I would certainly support the conversation around it and I would certainly support communication around it because I think if you are in an environment where you believe that spread could be higher risk because of the size of room and because of the numbers of students and the types of vulnerable students you have, I would certainly welcome that conversation, I think it’d be a very timely one to have with our schools.

Daniel:

I know we’re going over a little bit of time here and we’ve lost a few from the webinar, 135 people still on though listening, so I’m happy to go for another five or 10 minutes just so that we can have a look at some of our international educator travel and I think Rowan, it would be great for you to contribute here because you’re at the forefront of international educator travel around the world, people that are moving from the UK and Ireland across to Australia. People are moving from New Zealand to OZ and also the UK and Canada to New Zealand so you’re over top of that.

Daniel:

Can you talk us through right now what your team is experiencing with their communications towards international travelers and what are we working towards with that really unknown part of the coronavirus and when we think things are going to get back to normal?

Rowan:

Yeah, some really good questions there Daniel. The whole global team have been working really closely together to track all international travelers that we’re supporting or we have been supporting so understandably, a lot of the educators have left the country where they’re having a teaching adventure, whether that’s UK, Australia, New Zealand, US, wherever it might be in great haste so we actually don’t know that they’ve left, but we know that they’ve been motivated by family and friends and border panic around flights and all kinds of things.

Rowan:

So we’ve had some challenge stories around people getting stranded in Dubai and midway between here and the UK but for the majority, they’ve made it to their home country, wherever that may be and we’re following up to try and find out where are you at exactly right now, how can we support you in the best way?

Rowan:

There are, as you touched on before, there are definitely some international educators that have stayed in their arrival countries so we know for a fact there’s educators in Australia from Ireland and Britain and Canada that have made the decision to stay in Australia and not to go home.

Rowan:

Understanding who they are and how we can best support them is one of our priorities and a lot of discussion has been around the farm work. We’ve had some really good stories, some positive stories from those international educators saying that they are still working, they’re in Australia, they’re working, extending their visas, all that kind of stuff and being really optimistic about when we could potentially be back at school and when schools open. We are also in constant investigation with visas around understanding that a lot of our educators had to leave when they just started their working holiday visas in our rival country. How will that affect the duration of the visa? Will they get access to an extended visa? Will there be an opportunity to get another visa, since their whole working holiday experience has been cut short? We’re very busy researching all those things. The conversations we’re having with all of our educators have been really positive. Really optimistic. We’re very careful about dates, about when things could be back to normal, whatever normal is but I think what you guys have been touching on, particularly James and yourself, Daniel, is September seems a reasonable time for us to be talking about the UK, given the school year, the US, given the school year as well.

Rowan:

But also with our Canadian team members and our UK team members, getting teachers into Australia and New Zealand, talking about, “How long does it take to get the visa, can we be applying for visas right now? Can we do anything right now that gets us ready for when the world is back to normal?”

Rowan:

And the answer is, “Yes.”

Rowan:

There’s a lot we can be doing. Lots of upskilling around remote learning, so we’re offering a lot of support as you touched on before, through digital delivery of lessons, PDs, webinars, like James alluded to before. In 50 minutes, we’ve got 20 educators that are interested in teaching in the US from Australia. There’s certainly that positivity, that optimism, lots of online learning and information getting shared.

Rowan:

The paperwork side of things, we’re doing as much as we can for people who still want to enjoy their adventures, wherever they may be. We want it to happen. We want to support them, whenever that could be. Making sure that when they do get a flight eventually, whenever that is, that when they do arrive, they are available. There’s no sitting around on hands waiting for those opportunities. We’re being really proactive around our groups of international educators. We’ve got a lot of Facebook groups in different geographies. Lots of conversation about how we can support them in this time, how we can connect with them because that’s really important. Keeping them connected socially as well online. And always talking about when the time comes, we will be here, we’ll be ready. You’ll be ready, you’ll be available. Lots of really good stories about, “When can I do this adventure? Because I’m still keen.”

Rowan:

And I think travel has always been a big part of a teacher’s psyche and something continually we hope will keep going rolling into the future. The conversation is the schools, when they do open, will be absolutely in need of quality educators. Wherever you are around the world, their students will be in need of quality educators. Teachers will always be required. And we’re just hopeful that it’ll be sooner rather than later, like everyone is hoping for.

Rowan:

On the slide I showed earlier, just to give you an idea of people are … There was a table, Daniel, I don’t know if you can go back to it. It just shows who is still intending to travel in 2020 if things go back to normal quickly. If it’s not 2020, it’s 2021. There’s just some numbers I thought we’d share with you just to show that people haven’t given up on their overseas dream. And we’re certainly not pushing people to … We’re not promoting it as proactively as we might otherwise but we’re certainly still having those conversations, helping people with their visas. Just keeping connected with them, keeping them warm, informing them about visas, informing them about that rural farm work that they can be doing if they’ve made the decision to stay here.

Rowan:

I guess there are silver linings to this, people are still talking about travel and we’re certainly looking to support them any which way we can. Whether that’s through farm work referrals … Someone might say, “I had a great job picking bananas in Brisbane with a great farmer who looked after me.”

Rowan:

We’re going to be passing that information onto people that are thinking of doing that kind of thing while schools are getting back up and running. We’re very optimistic, we’re keeping up beat. Of course, there’s not a lot of travel at the moment. Our numbers aren’t like they should be but really optimistic that the people that are rescheduling their travel, will get their opportunity. It will happen. We can’t say when but when it does, we’ll be there to support them.

Daniel:

Thanks for that Rowan. Now, I’m just going to quickly … Because we do have to finish up but I’m very conscious that it’s gone over but we still have over a hundred people online who are getting some benefit from the information. Kelly Thomas, assuming that … There’s a specific question here for Ben, that we’ll pass over to him just regarding furlough and work in September. Kelly, you’ll get some direct conversation from from our UK office regarding your question there. Michelle, appreciate your time, “How can we find out about upskilling? Example, online learning and hygiene for COVID?”

Daniel:

We’ll we’ll get back to you directly on that one. If you’re in Australia and New Zealand, we’ve got the Department of Health’s online learning module around COVID-19 and protecting against the spread of infectious diseases. We can send you a link out for that. It’s an online course. And we’re running webinars around online learning that will begin next week. We’re currently getting that content into our learning management system. Christina Appleby, our general manager of permanent recruitment across the ditch in New Zealand, has made a contribution. Yeah, thanks Christina. I hope you’re doing well. We agree with Rowan, in New Zealand, we have gone all out of our active candidates, over 500 educators to talk to them about how they can be ready for when the doors open. They seem keen to still be moving positively towards coming to teach in New Zealand as they should because COVID-19 isn’t the end of the world for us.

Daniel:

We’re certainly empathetic and we understand the severity and the realness of the situation to a lot of people in the world and I’m really fortunate that family and friends and my community is safe around me but we know that that’s not the case for a lot of others. In fact, one of my friends that I lived in London with 15 years ago, he let me know over the last couple of days, his father in law in Austria is really sick with COVID-19 in a coma.

Daniel:

This is far reaching and it’s impacting thousands and thousands of people around the world but we’re doing everything that we can to get ready and to prepare for life after COVID and to try and get some normality back into how we work and how we support because this isn’t permanent. It’s certainly front and center now but there isn’t permanence to it. We just have to ride it out. We’ve got to stay positive and we’ve got to look at all the things that we can do as people, as communities, as an education supplier, as educators, to really work through, stay positive and get through it because everybody’s going to have their dark days. Everybody’s going to have their challenges working through it from inside four walls, where you probably haven’t worked before, without the connection of your social group and that can be a challenge. We’re going to work really hard to get through this and to support everybody through it. And keep your chin up everybody because together, we will work through it and we’ll get through it.

Daniel:

We have communications going out on Facebook and Instagram, very regularly, so keep up with Facebook and Insta because they will be advertising all of those online learning modules that we’re running. Ray Chapman, “Thank you to you, Daniel and the ANZUK team here in Melbourne for working hard to figure out how you guys will help support and help CITs with these.”

Daniel:

Thanks Ray. We really appreciate that and you may rest assured, we’re going to keep working hard on whatever we can do as an agency to support. At a minimum, we’re investing a lot into online learning, so that we can keep upskilling people and so that we can keep you engaged over a down period but as I mentioned, we’re really confident and we’re really bullish that things will be back to normal here pretty quickly and we know that there’s going to be some support out there. We’re trying to make sure that it’s for everybody but for the majority of people who’ve been in our community for a long time. Thank you for that, Ray. Jacqueline”When will you make a decision on the job keeper?”

Daniel:

Jacqueline, we’ll have that decision as soon as it’s been confirmed and passed with legislation. It could be as early as Monday next week, Tuesday next week but it will be soon. The job keeper payments, for your information, they won’t be paid until the end of April. That’s been the advice from the government on the job keeper payments.

Daniel:

We appreciate your contribution and we appreciate you joining us today. Michelle, “Thanks for the continued support.”

Daniel:

Oh, thanks Michelle. You’re an absolute champion. We appreciate it. Just to finish off and just to point … I love this. There’s one little story we’re going to share at the end but just so that you’re all aware, we have … In Australia, we still have bi-weekly newsletters in addition to webinars running across the week. Any urgent communications we have coming out to you via SMS alerts. We’re posting regularly on our ANZUK blog. You’ll have the transcript from today there as well to review. And we also have regular phone contact coming from all of our consultants to their educators, just to keep in touch and make sure that you are aware and you know what’s going on.

Daniel:

And if the mediums that we’re not reaching you on, aren’t meeting your expectations, get in contact with us, give us some feedback. We’re more than happy to help and support and to change the way that we’re doing things, just so that you’re empowered and you have the information at your fingertips that you need. Ben what are we doing in the UK around regular communications?

Ben:

We have weekly webinars going out at the moment for anyone, particularly educators. As I said before, there’s a lot of uncertainty still and there’s still a lot of legislation to work through but we’re trying to summarise that quickly and get that communicated to you as soon as possible. Again, starting … We had one last week, this week again on the furlough process, which was announced the day after we had last week’s webinar. There’s some good stuff in that one. Again, tomorrow we’ll do the same. The following week, on other subjects, there’s all sorts going on. I think really important to mention social media, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn. There’s constant fantastic content from the guys keeping you up to date on the to do’s and to not do’s, with regards to COVID-19 but also how we’re keeping the community together and trying to make sure that everyone is supported through the challenging times.

Daniel:

Thanks Ben. Stu, New Zealand. Can you give our listeners just a bit of an update on what we’re doing in New Zealand to keep the communications up?

Stu:

Yeah, so I think the main activity for all of us is actually talking to people on the phone via video technology and checking in with teachers and schools, ECE centres both around New Zealand and teachers who are overseas. We’ve been back and been in touch with all of the overseas teachers we’ve bought into New Zealand over the last couple of years or we’ve helped get to New Zealand over the last couple of years. Just checking and letting them know we’re here.

Stu:

And so being a little country, at the end of the world that’s … That face to face is something we can do more easily but also our main source of updates is on our web page through the resources tab and we’re constantly sending out emails and Facebook links through to that. We’re using our Facebook groups.

Stu:

And webinars too. Webinar was run on Monday for overseas teachers still looking at coming to New Zealand. That’ll be repeated probably every two to three weeks. Webinars for our relief teachers, every couple of weeks and also regular updates for teachers heading to New Zealand. Once again, please, if people have got questions, please reach out. The team are very skilled, very specialised at getting information. We’ve got good relationships with the government agencies, for people who are looking to come to New Zealand and still very … We’re very much … As the other teams are getting set up for when things re-open again and teachers are once again able to come to New Zealand.

Daniel:

Thank you, Stu. And we’ll cross over to James. The US, what are we doing in the US to keep everybody informed, James?

James:

Check www.scoot.education/status. That’s where the latest information is. And if you’re one of our registered educators, check your text messages and your emails but everything we’re releasing to educators is also going onto our status page. That also has links to a lot of different resources that cover a lot of the questions that were asked during this session but from a US perspective.

Daniel:

Fantastic. We appreciate that. I think that’s about all we’ve got time for. I think it would be great just to share one of the stories here in the presentation from Mrs. Woods, a third grade teacher, “We’re doing our best in a room with 550 kids, to keep the germs away. Students got stamps on their hands in the morning and if it’s gone by the end of the day from the hand washing, they all get a prize.”

Daniel:

I think people are trying. And I think that’s the thing that we … The message that we want to send. Life isn’t stopping. We all have our part to play. And one of the beautiful things about schools are the opportunities that we have there to educate our kids on this crazy time and what they can do to support as well. There’s a lot of great things happening around the world with COVID-19 and how we’re managing it. Stay positive everybody. We certainly feel that we’re on top of things and over the next few weeks, we’ll be more informed and we’ll be presenting more information.

James, Stuart, Ben, Rowan, thanks for joining us on this global webinar pandemic. Thank you to every audience member who logged in and gave us your precious time and who gave us some questions to guide our answers. Thank you for everything that you do for ANZUK, Scoot and EP. You’re a highly valued part of our team and we appreciate all your hard work. We will certainly be doing everything that we can to keep you all informed and to do what we can to support the communities through this challenging and very indifferent time for all of us. Wherever you are, have a great day or sleep well, whatever that may be. Thanks again for joining us and see you on the next webinar. Thank you.