Here you will find a selection of updated FAQs following the announcement from the First Minister that schools are to reopen from the 11th of August.
Please read the guidance from the Scottish Government on preparing for the start of the new school term. The EIS will continue to keep in contact with members and update these FAQs as more information becomes available.
Q1. I am currently having to self-isolate due on return from my holiday to Spain and cannot go into school at the start of term, what should I do?
Q2. I am a teacher who is pregnant/previously shielding/clinically vulnerable, what should now happen to me?
Q3. I wish to wear a face covering but have been told by my HT that this is not professional and not acceptable, is that correct?
Q4. How can I teach my class and still maintain social distancing?
Q5. How do I raise my concerns about the mitigations (safety measures, precautions) being put in place?
Q6. I am required to self-isolate due to being contacted by Test and Protect. Will I get paid for my time off work if I cannot work from home?
Q7. What happens if there is a case of Covid-19 at our school?
Q8. I am concerned about going back to school because of additional risk to me from Covid-19 due to my ethnicity, what should I do?
Q9. What are the rules for NCCT teachers?
Q10. What are the rules on movement for peripatetic/temporary/supply teachers/Educational Psychologists/Instrumental Music Teachers?
You should contact your Head Teacher and explain your situation and discuss how you can work from home. You should be allowed to work at home for the required period and you will receive full pay for this. This was agreed under SNCT Circular 20/76, see below:
"Quarantine Arrangements: Teachers and Music Instructors who have pre-booked holidays arranged prior to the announcement of quarantine arrangements and who may be required to isolate after travelling abroad; will be required to work from home during any isolation period. There is no facility to agree additional annual leave beyond 11 August 2020."
Your employer should contact you and begin a discussion about return to school, and individual risk assessment, the outcome of this may be that working from home is continued. The Scottish Government’s guidelines must be followed and employers are required to be supportive and understanding of individual circumstances. Members in this situation should contact their LA Secretary if advice or support is required from the EIS.
All staff and pupils in schools are allowed to wear face coverings whilst in schools. In addition, where social distancing is not possible for adults the adults are required to wear face coverings at those time.
There will be many changes needed in the coming year and the EIS is working to produce resources to assist with this. The Covid risk assessments should consider working patterns and practices and try to minimise times where social distancing is not possible. When social distancing is not possible face coverings are required.
Teachers should be consulted on the risk assessments both directly and through the EIS Rep. Concerns can be raised directly with school management and/or with the EIS Rep. If further support is needed the EIS Local Association will be providing that support to schools and will be able to raise issues at Local Authority level.
Yes, the SNCT Handbook makes provision for this:
"Infectious Diseases: 6.34 An employee who is prevented from attending the place of employment because of contact with notifiable infectious diseases, shall advise the council immediately and shall be entitled to full pay during absence. A period of absence, in this case, should not be reckoned against his/her entitlement to sickness allowance."
Emergency measures at school level must be followed, as is set-out in the risk assessment. Test & Protect would take place and the control of a potential outbreak would be managed under guidance of Public Health Scotland. The EIS Rep should be consulted on all health and safety issues.
You should discuss your concerns with your Head Teacher, and an individual risk assessment should be carried out as required under Scottish Government advice.
Additional EIS advice is available.
Q9. What are the rules for NCCT teachers?
The Scottish Government guidance states that the movement of NCCT teachers between classes "is permitted but should be minimised wherever possible. Schools should be encouraged to follow SNCT and LNCT guidance on how flexibility of time over a 2 or 4 week period may help to reduce movement of staff across classes."
The risk assessment should consider this and the aim should be reducing the number of contacts for teachers to as low as reasonably practicable.
Movement between schools (e.g. of temporary/supply/peripatetic staff etc) should be kept to a minimum. The guidance recommends that "every effort should be made to secure these wider inputs through lower risk methods such as digital/virtual means or outdoor settings." Risk assessments need to be in place for the safe delivery of all activities and school risk assessments should consider safety precautions in place for all "visitors" to the school.