Advice for Members who are Returning to Schools this week:
Many schools in the region have paused their plans for wider opening following the reported rise in the 'R' rate. UNISON is clear that this is absolutely the right thing for schools to do - health and safety of pupils and staff must come first and the danger is very clear with the rise in the 'R' Rate. If your school is still currently planning to open more widely this week and you are expected to attend to support this wider opening, and are concerned about your health and safety, then you can use the template wording below to urgently email your headteacher. Please then contact your branch as soon as possible for further advice. UNISON will support you if you believe your health and safety is at serious risk if you go into school
"I'm sending this email pending advice from my union branch. I'm writing to inform you that, in order to protect myself and/or other persons from danger, I won’t be attending [name of school/college] to work there at present. I will be available to work from home.
The 'R' rate in our region has been shown to be above 1 and many schools are therefore delaying their wider opening plans. Understandably given the timing of this news, the school hasn't shared with me a reviewed risk assessment in light of this change to the 'R' rate. Therefore I do not feel reassured that a return to the workplace itself can be safe.
In the meantime, I am of course willing to carry out any of my duties, or other alternative duties at my current grade, that can reasonably be undertaken from my home.
Cc your HR contact
We appreciate members may feel reluctant to take this step, but you can be clear with your employer that your union endorses this approach and that we will support you.