COVID-19: SSTA Members Update - 17 March 2020

The SSTA is in constant contact with the Government and employers regarding guidance to members and schools during this difficult time. The situation and guidance on COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is continually updating and changing. I have tried to lay out the current position and guidance to help answer most of your questions. Please follow the link to previous advice.

The Government has made the decision to keep schools open where possible

“We recommend all educational settings remain open unless you have been advised by the local Health Protection Team to close. Children appear to be less affected than other age groups however handwashing should be encouraged before and after any activity, such as meal times, break times and sporting activities. Your local public health team will provide advice if you have had a symptomatic case of COVID-19 on site. At present school closure is not usually required but the local health protection team will support you to make a risk assessment”.

Please find below the links for updated information on COVID-19 from the HPS and SNCT. I have indicated the sections that will be helpful to you

Health Protection Scotland (HPS).The updated source of advice for all schools and educational settings
contains useful information and the following would be of particular interest to members:

1.4 Contact with a case of COVID-19
1.5 Actions to take if someone who may have COVID-19 becomes unwell whilst on site at your organisation
1.6 Environmental decontamination (cleaning and disinfection) after a possible case has left a workplace or other non-healthcare setting
2.1. Employers and Businesses Employees will need your support to adhere to the recommendation to stay at home to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to others.
2.3. Educational settings

Members attention is drawn to the following contained in the document:

(3) Class Arrangements
(4) Working Hours
(6) Relocation
(7) Self-Isolation
(8) Vulnerable Staff
(9) Pregnant Staff
(10) Care Arrangements

In addition, that latest announcements included

  • Everyone should avoid gatherings and crowded places, such as pubs, clubs and theatres
  • Everyone should work from home if they can
  • All "unnecessary" visits to friends and relatives in care homes should cease
  • People should only use the NHS "where we really need to" - and can reduce the burden on workers by getting advice on the NHS website where possible
  • By next weekend, those with the most serious health conditions must be "largely shielded from social contact for around 12 weeks"
    • People over the age of 70
    • Other adults who would normally be advised to have the flu vaccine (such as those with chronic diseases)
    • Pregnant women

SSTA Advice

The first consideration for members is your own personal safety.

  • If you, or a member of your household, have any of the symptoms then you must follow the health guidance and isolate.
  • If you have an underlying health condition,  or are a part of a vulnerable group, you can only work in a place of safety which could be away from the school. The employer has a duty of care to ensure you are not put at risk.
  • If you have caring responsibilities then arrangements must be made to allow you to carry out these responsibilities.
  • If you are not able to attend work please inform your employer in the normal way. Early notice is important.

 The situation is constantly changing and we will issue further advice in the coming days.