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A majority of teachers are returning to schools this week without knowing what safety measures their schools are taking to deal with Coronavirus, an NASUWT survey of Scottish has found.

Teachers have been given little or no time to prepare for the return of their pupils and have in many cases not been given basic information about what measures will be in place to ensure the health and safety of staff and pupils.

The majority (67%) of teachers responding to the NASUWT survey do not feel prepared to return to their school/college and the vast majority (87%) feel anxious about returning to their school when it is reopened to all pupils.

The NASUWT survey found teachers in Scotland have not been given assurances on social distancing or the provision of PPE.

The survey also highlighted major concerns around the lack of consultation with teachers, especially staff who are at greatest risk from contracting Coronavirus.

A majority of teachers (57%) had not been informed of new arrangements for their school for Monday/Tuesday and the majority (60%) were not consulted on any arrangements for opening and also a majority (65%) were not consulted on risk assessments. 

For those who were in extremely vulnerable groups or had characteristics for whom coronavirus would have a disproportionate effect, (69%) had not had any contact from their employer regarding their individual risk assessment.

NASUWT General Secretary Dr Patrick Roach said: “Teachers need to be given the same level of protection as employees in any other workplaces.

“Our survey has highlighted that teachers have not been given assurances that even basic hygiene measures to help supress the virus, such as paper towels and soap and hot water, will be made available to them. This is deeply concerning and must be addressed immediately.

“We have also heard from many cases teachers who have not been told about the safety measures that will be  in place to help prevent virus spread.

“The Scottish Government and school employers have a duty to listen to and address teachers safety concerns and take urgent action to ensure  that schools reopen safely this term.” 

Jane Peckham, NASUWT National Official Scotland, said:

“The fact that almost half of teachers have told us they don’t feel their school will be a safe environment for pupils to return to should be a major cause for concern.

“The majority of teachers tell us they are anxious about returning but assurances about routine testing in schools and rigorous monitoring systems for Coronavirus will help provide reassurance that everything that can be done to keep schools safe is being done.

“School leaders and staff have been working phenomenally hard in very difficult and uncertain circumstances to ensure that they can safely reopen and many pupils and staff are looking forward to returning to school and college.
“But ministers and school employers must do more to reassure parents and the schools workforce that everything is being done to minimise transmission of the virus and that rigourous safety measures and procedures are in place should any outbreaks occur.”
 

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