COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Information and FAQs

Resources and further information



Department of Education AlertsLink
DoE intranet site (COVID-19)Link
TasTAFE COVID-19 NewsLink
Tasmanian Hotlines (COVID-19)Link
Self Assessment Tool (COVID-19)Link
Protecting Yourself (COVID-19)Link
Hand Washing Procedure (COVID-19)Link
Working from home arrangements during pandemic (DoE)Link
Process for Covid-19 EnquiriesLink
Letter to parents and carers from Secretary and Minister for Education and training 25 March 2020Link
Teaching and Learning Support Learning at home (DoE pdf)Link
Resources to support online learning (DoE staff only)Link
Learning at Home (DoE public - resources for parents and carers)Link
Communicable Diseases Leave DoE (includes COVID-19)Link
Casual Relief Teachers - Register for supportLink

Contact us


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The global pandemic COVID-19/Novel Coronavirus presents a range of personal and professional challenges for educators. AEU members and parents are looking for clear and accurate information, which we hope to provide you with on this page.

We will update this page as the situation regarding COVID-19/coronavirus changes and post links to member bulletins and other updates below.

Updated 8 May 2020

DoE member update (return to school-based learning)

TasTAFE member update (general and COVID-19)

Media Release: Community consistency and working together are key to safe and successful return to school

Letter to parents and carers (joint DoE/Minister)

Return to school parent fact sheet (DoE)

Return to school staff FAQs (DoE)

Updated 24 April 2020

NORTH WEST SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES CLOSED to students and staff for Week 1 of Term 2. Principals, teachers and support staff will work from home, continuing to prepare for Term 2 and student learning will recommence predominantly at home on Monday 4th May. For North West students this is effectively a four day extension of the current holiday period.

LEARNING FROM HOME – schools and colleges in the North and South will continue as planned, with students to learn from home where possible beginning Tuesday 28th April. Principals remain principals, teachers continue as teachers and support staff continue in their various roles. The Premier and Education Minister reiterated the advice today: if children can be supervised to learn from home, that is the best place for them to be.

COVID-19 TESTING (NW) – members in the North West are encouraged to contact the Public Health Hotline to arrange a COVID-19 test. Public health is focused on significantly increasing community testing for COVID-19 in the North-West and as front line workers members are invited to undertake testing even if you are not experiencing symptoms. COVID-19 testing will be made available and is encouraged for all state servants working in the North-West from Saturday 25 April 2020. Those who are well and are tested will not be required to self-isolate while awaiting the results. However, those who are unwell and are tested must self-isolate until the test result is received. The Public Health Hotline is: 1800 671 738

Media release: Teachers, principals and support staff reassure parents on home learning

Updated 23 April 2020

Productive negotiations with the DoE and Tasmanian Government have delivered ongoing employment options for relief members – 0ver 15,000 hours per fortnight of centrally funded relief.

Relief members have received an update by email, if you haven’t joined the AEU yet – click here now.

Contact our Member Support Team for support through this process or if you have any questions or concerns.

Updated 23 April 2020

TasTAFE member update – click here to view.

Updated 17 April 2020

Early childhood teacher and AEU executive member Alison Jales provided an informed and balanced contrast to mixed messages from the national government on ABC News last night. Click below to watch and share on Facebook.

Updated 16 April 2020

The federal government has produced two documents:

 

Updated 9 April 2020

NEW SPECIAL COVID-19 PAID LEAVE – we hope nobody has to use it, but up to 4 weeks of paid leave will be available to members, including those employed on a casual basis. You can click here for the full regulation, but we’re still negotiating exactly how this will be applied with the DoE.

Members who are parents or carers have a range of options available to them:

  • negotiate to work from home with your principal/manager where practicable;
  • as essential workers, members are able to send their children to school;
  • if a member elects to not send their children to school but is unable to work from home, they can access personal (carers’) leave, which can be extended if they have reached their annual limit of carers’ leave. The new COVID-19 special paid leave may also be applicable.

Contact our Member Support Team if you have any questions or concerns.

Updated 7 April 2020

All AEU members covered by the DoE Teachers Agreement (teachers, principals and school psychologists) have been sent a members-only survey regarding Term 2 and COVID-19 impacts on members and workplaces.

Contact us if you haven’t received a survey – join the AEU if you are not yet a member.

Support staff and TasTAFE member surveys are in development or discussion – members will receive updates soon.

Updated 6 April 2020

On Friday, AEU Branch Executive resolved to seek from DoE “an operational directive by Wednesday 8th April 2020 that explicitly defines expectations and processes by which staff other than those already identified as being at risk, are facilitated work-from-home access and resources in Term 2 2020.”

Updated 3 April 2020

Updated Tasmanian School Calendar for April 2020 – day one of Term 2 (Monday 27th April) will be a Professional Learning Day.

Casual relief teachers and many part-time teachers who rely on casual work are facing particularly uncertain times as schools respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

Support is coming – the AEU has been strongly advocating for all educators on casual or fixed term contracts and the Tasmanian Government is putting together a plan for ‘income maintenance’.

Register now to receive the support of the AEU through this process: https://aeutas.org.au/relief/

Updated 1 April 2020

AEU member Whitney Bowerman has turned a wonderful social distancing activity for early years students at Collinsvale Primary into a book!
‘Be an Echidna’ is available as a FREE digital download, with a request for donations to Hobart City Mission who are currently experiencing particularly high demand for their services.

Updated 31 March 2020

COVID-19 member update (More good outcomes for members)

Updated 30 March 2020

Communicable Diseases Leave Updated

  • Coronavirus/COVID-19 added to Specified List
  • New inclusions: DoE Support Staff, VET Student Assistants, Participation Assistants and Allied Health Professionals working within school

Documents (available on DoE Intranet):

Updated 28 March 2020

Media Release: National Cabinet must provide expanded COVID-19 testing for education employees

Updated 27 March 2020

Media Release: AEU welcomes Premier’s appeal to parents

COVID-19 member update (Wins for educators)

Premier Gutwein this morning:
“As of Monday, for those parents who can keep their children at home and supervise them, they should.
“Schools will remain open for the children of essential workers. They will remain open for any parent who doesn’t have the ability or the support available to them to provide adequate supervision and learning support at home for their children. Schools will remain open.
“Where possible, from Monday, parents should keep their children home from school and take advantage of those home learning opportunities.”

Updated 26 March 2020

COVID-19 member update (Q&A with Mark Veitch, Director of Public Health Tasmania)

Updated 25 March 2020

COVID-19 member update (25 March 2020)

Media Release: Student free days needed sooner – urgent call to Peter Gutwein

Updated 24 March 2020

COVID-19 member update (24 March 2020)

Updated 23 March 2020

Media Release: Chaos and confusion must not continue for preschools, schools and TAFE

Click here for today’s COVID-19 member update

Updated 21 March 2020

NAPLAN will not proceed in 2020

Updated 20 March 2020

Media Release: AEU to meet with Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan about COVID-19 concerns

Updated 19 March 2020

Click here for today’s COVID-19 member update

Click here to read the AEU’s letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the National Cabinet.

Updated 18 March 2020

Click here to read the AEU Tasmania media release: Union says schools need clarity and support to combat COVID 19

Click here for today’s COVID-19 member update

Updated 17 March 2020

Click here for today’s COVID-19 member update

Updated 16 March 2020

AEU Tasmania President Helen Richardson and Acting State Manager Adam Clifford are in daily contact with heads of the Department of Education and Minister for Education.

Your AEU Branch Council met on Friday and passed motions to protect leave entitlements and call on DoE and TasTAFE to enact and resource infection control measures. The DoE have already responded positively to these demands.

Branch Council also sought clarity of advice on circumstances and processes under which schools, colleges and TAFE’s will close, with this information to be provided by COB Friday 20th March.

Your AEU officers are positively advocating for measures that are focused on your health and safety, the health and wellbeing of students and school communities and ensuring members’ pay and conditions are maintained throughout the response to this pandemic.

The AEU maintains that any employee affected by the COVID-19 virus pandemic should NOT have to use any of their existing leave entitlements.

The DoE has indicated that it is working to develop a commonsense attitude to managing leave in the circumstances, including temporarily dropping the requirement for medical certificates.

Click here for a letter from the Minister for Education Jeremy Rockliff to all DoE staff(16 March 2020)

AEU Members have already provided feedback on the shortcomings of the latest advice from the Department and Minister and AEU officers have conveyed these concerns to the Department, including concerns about supplies of appropriate hygienic cleaning materials and equipment, additional cleaning resources in workplaces and the difficulties of implementing social distancing measures in learning environments.

The Department has assured us that they are monitoring the situation and will respond proactively to concerns from workplaces. They are also reviewing their position as new medical advice is received and will consider further measures if they deem the advice demands them.

If you have concerns about facilities for handwashing and general cleaning resources at your workplace, talk to your AEU Rep or Principal/Line Manager. AEU Reps and Principals are encouraged to contact the AEU if hygiene/cleaning resources are not meeting requirements – email support@aeutas.org.au

As the Minister notes in his letter to School Principals, schools will remain open for as long as it is safe. However the Minister also noted that school closures may still be necessary. He says:

“Should we have a notification of a confirmed case of COVID 19 on a school site, the school will be closed to allow for tracing and cleaning to be undertaken. The school will only be reopened once it is appropriate to do so.
This advice will be regularly reviewed and updated as necessary.”

COVID-19 FAQ

To be updated in real time, with member bulletins to alert you of changes.

What if I have a confirmed case of COVID-19?

You are to be excluded from school if you have a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Actions:

  • Immediately contact the Department of Health (DH) Tasmanian Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 for advice.
  • You should contact your principal to notify of your situation.
  • Call the AEU Tasmania on 1800 001 313 for any further advice you may need.

 What if I have been in close contact with a person who is a confirmed case?

You are to be excluded from school for a period of 14 days if you have been in close contact with a person who has a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Close contact is defined as having at least 15 minutes face-to-face contact or the sharing of a closed space for more than two hours with a person who has a confirmed case.

Actions:

  • Immediately contact the Department of Health (DH) on 1800 671 738 for advice.
  • You should contact your principal to notify of your situation.
  • Your school should inform the DoE
  • Call the AEU Tasmania on 1800 001 313 for any further advice you may need.

If I have been told I must be excluded from school, what leave arrangements apply?

The DoE are currently working on clarifying what leave provisions will apply to different situations.

The AEU maintains that any employee affected by the COVID-19 virus pandemic should NOT have to use any of their existing leave entitlements.

Can I attend work if I have been in contact with someone who has been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19?

Yes, there is no need to self-isolate unless you have been identified by health authorities as having been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.  However if in doubt immediately contact the Department of Health (DH) on 1800 671 738 for advice.

The Award provides for staff to be granted communicable diseases paid leave if they contract an infectious disease, does this apply to COVID-19/coronavirus?

At the time of this update COVID-19 is not listed as a communicable disease on the National Health and Medical Research Council site or on the DoE intranet sites. The AEU position is that COVID-19 should be added to the list or an appropriate leave arrangement put in place to ensure members who contract COVID-19 absent themselves from duty on leave with pay, without prejudicing or affecting personal leave entitlements.

Who decides if a school closes?

The Minister has advised Principals that should they have notification of a confirmed case of COVID-19 on a school site that the school will be closed to allow for tracing and cleaning to be undertaken.  The school will only be reopened once it is safe to do so.  They will be reviewing this advice regularly.

The DoE will clarify arrangements and support for school leadership regarding how to implement any closure, including how to communicate advice and instructions to staff, students and parents/guardians.

I am a support staff member or relief teacher on a casual or fixed term contract or work more than my substantive position. What arrangements are in place for me?

The DoE has confirmed it understands how you may be impacted by events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. We are in ongoing discussions with the Department to ensure that you are not unfairly disadvantaged.

We will update all members as we seek to finalise suitable arrangements with the Department.

Other advice

If members have specific inquiries, please contact the AEU directly on 1800 001 313. The union will update advice to members as the situation changes.

Members are encouraged to read the detailed advice provided on the DoE intranet site at: https://tasedu.sharepoint.com/sites/intranet/SitePages/Coronavirus.aspx

Currently our AEU offices are considering the following actions:

  • Organisers to move from workplace visits to phone and electronic communications
  • Members are discouraged from visiting AEU offices in person, instead contact us by phone or email.
  • Face-to-face Reps Training has been cancelled.
  • The TAFE 2020 Conference and Annual meeting of the NTC has been postponed until later in the year.