Our union has yesterday and today been engaged in urgent discussions with Cairns school employers seeking an immediate commitment to work from home options for school staff this week.
Our message to all employers has been clear – health directives must be followed and employees should be working remotely wherever possible.
The state government directive for Cairns has authorised workplace attendance by essential workers only in cases where the employee is unable to perform their work remotely: “Essential work is work that cannot be done from your home”.
Current status of Cairns schools
The following Cairns schools have confirmed a transition to remote learning and limited staff attendance from Tuesday, 10 August given their employees can ‘reasonably perform’ their work from home:
- Education QLD schools
- Trinity Anglican School
- Peace Lutheran College
- Djarragun College
- Freshwater Christian College
The status of Cairns Catholic schools varies. While some Catholic schools have announced a move to limit staff to only essential employees from Monday or Tuesday, Catholic Education Services (CES) has provided discretion to individual schools to delay remote work until Wednesday should schools require the extra time to prepare for the change.
Our union has again reiterated to CES the urgent requirement to comply with the health directive and transition to remote work as soon as possible.
We’re seeking that CES provide an unequivocal direction to their affected schools that the transition to remote work and limited onsite attendance must occur as soon as possible.
Please contact our union immediately if you require support in relation to any specific work from home issues or staffing arrangements at your school.
Read more about our union’s advocacy for safe working conditions for all employees in these excerpts from our latest COVID-19 member advisory below 👇
Cairns goes into lockdown from 4pm Sunday, 8 August
Our members and their families in Cairns will now enter lockdown until at least 4.00pm on Wednesday, 11 August.
The Cairns lockdown will require limited onsite school attendance and a transition to remote work consistent with the recent arrangements in SEQ.
As with the SEQ lockdown last week, it is likely that some schools will require a higher level of onsite staff attendance on Monday as schools transition to remote learning and establish supervision arrangements for the children of essential workers.
As always, our union is here to support and represent any Chapters who experience difficulties in confirming safe operating arrangements at their school.
Safety precautions on school sites
Important safety precautions must continue in Cairns schools for any staff attending school sites this week:
Face masks: will be required to be worn by all primary and secondary school employees in all settings. High school students will also be required to wear masks.
Medically vulnerable employees: any member with a medical vulnerability should discuss arrangements with their school to confirm remote work options. Please contact our union immediately if you need specific support or advice.
Physical distancing: schools should continue to implement best practice safety precautions around social distancing and staff interactions. This is not the time for large staff gatherings or meetings.
The union difference: priority vaccinations for education workers confirmed
Our union, along with our colleagues in the Queensland Teachers’ Union (QTU), has repeatedly called for the priority vaccination of school staff.
Our collective voices have been heard! The state government has now announced priority access for any childcare, kindergarten or school employee who seeks to get vaccinated. You can read details of the government arrangements here.
Members are to be commended for their work in support of this campaign. The Delta variant’s high transmission rates amongst children and multiple outbreaks in school communities have clearly reinforced the desperate need for education workers to have access to the vaccination program.
Our collective support will enforce safe workplaces
As always our COVID-19 Resource Hub will be updated with further advice and resources.