COVID-19 – SSTA Advice to Members

The situation and guidance on COVID-19 is changing and will continue to change in coming days and weeks. The SSTA will continue to update you on any changes that may occur.

Please find below the official links for information on COVID-19.

NHS Scotland. COVID-19 can cause respiratory illness of varying severity. Currently, there is no vaccine and no specific treatment for infection with the virus.https://www.nhsinform.scot/coronavirus

Health Protection Scotland (HPS). The key source of advice for all schools and educational settings including early learning and childcare settings.  https://www.hps.scot.nhs.uk/web-resources-container/covid-19-guidance-to-educational-settings/
Scottish Government guidance issued for education providers https://news.gov.scot/news/coronavirus-guidance-issued-for-education-providers


SSTA ADVICE TO MEMBERS

This advice is intended to reassure members of employment matters and the potential of exceptional measures being put in place by the employers/government. Members are advised to be aware of the following issues:

SELF-ISOLATION
Self-isolation involves staying indoors following the advice of a medical professional and avoiding contact with others where possible. It also means that members should remain at home and should not go to work, school or public areas or use public transport or taxis. Members who are undergoing self-isolation should advise their council immediately.

The situation of permanent and long term supply teacher is covered by the SNCT regarding the classification of the periods of self-isolation. Paragraph 6.34 of the Handbook applies when a teacher is self-isolating due to potential contact/travel from affected areas and is staying away from work to self-isolate.  This is the paragraph that sets out that paid leave should be provided with regard to contact with a notifiable disease:

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.

Please Note: SSTA expects teachers on a daily supply contract but have been undertaking regular work in the same school(s) over a number of weeks should be covered by the same SNCT paragraph.

SICKNESS
If a teacher becomes ill then normal sick pay arrangements and employer reporting arrangements apply. Members who are sick are not required to complete any work.

SCHOOL CLOSURES
Should a school be closed due to lack of staff/pupils to maintain the service the employer may require teachers to relocate to other schools where it is practicable. Travel expenses will be meet by the employer. However, should the school be closed for medical/containment reasons all staff and pupils should adhere to the medical guidance on self-isolation.

CARE ARRANGEMENTS
There could be a significant reduction of workforce due to care demands of young people, vulnerable persons and the elderly. In such circumstances Councils are required to be sympathetic to the pressures on staff. Councils will already have arrangements for granting leave with pay in these exceptional circumstances.

TEACHING AND LEARNING
The employers will be taking steps to maintain the continuity of education in the coming weeks. The focus for members during this time is to continue to prepare for teaching and learning, and the  normal preparations for the forthcoming national qualifications. However, members should not be expected to produce additional materials or qualification evidence.

WORKING FROM HOME
Requests may be made for teachers to work from home during school closures. Members should focus on their normal teaching commitment and not be diverted to additional tasks required by others. Where online facilities have been created within the school network members can submit work and answer sheets where appropriate for pupils when the school is closed. Members may be asked to take home laptops or tablets to assist with their work but must strictly adhere to the rules and procedures when asked to engage with individual pupils. Where these facilities are not in place work can be submitted to the school for posting to pupils. Please be aware that not all pupils have access to suitable computer facilities or broadband.

CHANGES IN TIMETABLE
Members should continue to work normally and follow the normal arrangements for covering absent colleagues. The employers should be providing additional supply teachers to all schools in an attempt to cover any potential loss of teachers in the coming weeks.

FUTURE ADVICE
The SSTA is involved in further discussions taking place within the SNCT regarding arrangements to be put in place if COVID-19 reaches a level that impacts on the education service.  Further guidance will issued.

For further information and advice please contact SSTA Head Office at  or 0131 313 7300

Published on 12 March 2020 - Information for Members