Urgent COVID-19 Member Advisory #13
IEUA-QNT meets with Chief Health Officer on member safety - schools must continue to update protocols & protections.
Recent COVID-19 developments in Queensland have again highlighted the need for the continual review and updating of safety plans and incident response protocols.
The inherent unpredictability and volatility of this health emergency reinforces the need for comprehensive precautions in all schools.
Now is not the time for any employer to become complacent.
Chief Health Officer hears your concerns
Our union met with Queensland’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeanette Young, on Thursday, 13 August regarding member concerns with the safe operation of schools including:
- The limited capacity of schools to socially distance
- Best practice procedures in the event of school infections
- The case for updated medical advisories in schools
You can read more details of the issues and concerns raised by members here.
Additional advice from the Chief Health Officer at this meeting highlighted the urgent need for school employers to establish a pre-arranged contact person with their relevant Queensland Health office in preparation for any possible closure or school community infection.
Complying with COVID tests should not disadvantage members
The scope and frequency of COVID tests has escalated dramatically in recent days in accordance with the Queensland Government’s latest health advice. School employers are also requiring employees to stay at home if they have any COVID like symptoms.
In many cases, members are experiencing delays in being able to obtain COVID-19 tests as well as lengthy waiting periods for their results.
Employees should not suffer any financial disadvantage as a result of their compliance with health advice or employer directions.
Many of the current employer policies fail to address this specific situation of COVID tests. Employers should confirm the following where an employee is taking a COVID test or awaiting their results for a return to work clearance:
- If otherwise fit for duty, the employee should be able to work from home.
- If work from home is not viable and the employee is otherwise fit for duty, they should be provided additional special paid leave to cover their absence.
A generous and compassionate approach by employers in these circumstances is essential to help minimise the potential spread of the virus.
Should school staff be wearing masks?
Queensland Health has advised that face masks might be suitable in several circumstances including public transport, attending a medical appointment or if someone is unwell.
At this stage there is no medical advice that masks should be worn in schools; however, any request by a member seeking to wear a mask should be supported in their workplace.
While no one is currently required to wear a mask, neither should any member be prohibited from doing so.
Our union is here to support any member who is denied an opportunity to take reasonable safety precautions.
Further information and advice regarding face masks is available from Queensland Health.
Union support and action is here to enforce safety measures
Remember, our member resources are available at COVID-19 Resource Hub.
Our union is here for you. Contact our union if safety precautions are not being maintained in your workplace.