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Home > News > 2020 > March > URGENT COVID-19 MEMBER ADVISORY #5: Why are our schools still open? | School employers must commit to immediate health and safety measures

URGENT COVID-19 MEMBER ADVISORY #5: Why are our schools still open? | School employers must commit to immediate health and safety measures

Topics : COVID-19
Charter of Action to protect all teachers and school support staff

Our union has called for schools to be closed for the term

In cases where staff currently remain on school sites, either with or without students, we call on all non-government education employers to urgently commit to new safety measures and employee welfare initiatives.

We have today written to all education employing authorities in Queensland and the Northern Territory seeking their immediate endorsement of our Charter of Action.


You can read full details of the employer Charter of Action here.    

The charter sets out the following areas and specific employer commitments that must be confirmed and adhered to:

  1. Vulnerable employees working in schools 
  2. Hygiene and safety standards  
  3. Workload considerations, hours of duty and technology  
  4. The provision of paid special leave to all employees

We have asked all employers to commit to the essential outcomes contained in the Charter of Action by 12noon on Thursday, 26 March 2020.

Your employer’s response will be published to all members. 

The current health emergency is unprecedented in our schools. We now need an equally unprecedented level of employer collaboration and response to protect the safety of our members and their livelihoods.

Vulnerable workers should be removed from classrooms

Vulnerable_workers_need_to_be_removed_from_classrooms.pngOur union has been calling for vulnerable workers to be removed from classrooms for weeks and the latest advice of the Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) confirms that position.

Dr Young has advised that: “For anyone who's over the age of 60, with one or more chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease or lung disease, they should be concerned and they shouldn't be coming into contact with large numbers of people whether they be children or anyone else."

Read more on Dr Young’s advice here.

At the same time, the RANZCOG has stated: “pregnant women should be considered a vulnerable or at-risk group.”

See the statement from RANZCOG here.

In light of the above advice, our union recommends that members who are in any of these groups of vulnerable workers should immediately approach their principal seeking alternative arrangements within the capabilities currently available within their school. This may include the deployment of other staff.

The latest advice from the Queensland Chief Health Officer and RANZCOG clearly reinforces our union’s ongoing call that all schools should shut immediately to students.


We encourage all members to contact our union for further advice and information on 1800 177 937 (QLD), 1800 351 996 (NT) or email memberalert@qieu.asn.au 

Previous COVID-19 Advisories: 

  1. Member advisory #1: 10 March 2020
  2. Member advisory #2: 16 March 2020
  3. Member advisory #3: 19 March 2020
  4. Member advisory #4: 23 March 2020

Authorised by Terry Burke, Independent Education Union of Australia – Queensland & Northern Territory Branch, Brisbane.