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The NASUWT launched its campaign to highlight the issue of Long Covid among teachers at the annual NASUWT Disabled Teachers’ Consultation Conference.

General Secretary Dr Patrick Roach told hundreds of teachers at the virtual conference that Long Covid must be legally recognised as a Disability under the Equality Act 2010.

And he called for better support for teachers with the condition, including better access to ill-health pensions and addressing the inadequacy of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) in responding to cases of teachers who are unable to continue teaching because of long Covid.

At the Conference members were also told about the Union's Covid Infection Register for members who have contracted Covid-19 to record and report details of infection and whether it was work-related. Members can pass on their details, held in confidence to help the NASUWT build up a picture of the disease among teachers.

Dr Roach told members: “You have stepped up to the frontline of this pandemic and have put their health at risk to educate children and young people.

“With the serious risk of emerging variants, more teachers could still be vulnerable to developing this condition and find themselves unable to work, at threat of financial hardship and without sufficient legal protections. 

“No teacher experiencing Long Covid should be forced to live in fear of being disciplined by their employer or that dismissed from their job because they have contracted this debilitating illness. 

“So, we want to see Government and employers stepping up.

“Committing to reasonable adjustments, flexible working and financial compensation for teachers left unable to work as a result of Long Covid, as is already the case for workers in the NHS.

“We will also be pressing for the Government to consider regulations that ensure access to ill-health retirement provision for those with Long Covid. 

“We recognise the life-changing severity of Long Covid and it is time the legislation to protect working people did so too.”

The Conference, which is the largest gathering of disabled teachers in the UK, also had legal advice sessions for members, a practical session on recognising Long Covid symptoms and support with absence and phased return to working.

Members also took part in question and answer session and listened to a debate with former Education Secretary Lord Blunkett, Shadow Minister for Disabled People Vicky Foxcroft, TUC Disability and LGBT+ Equality Officer Quinn Roache andCEO of Disability Rights UK, Kamran Mallick.

 

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