The NASUWT has written to Education president Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen after it was announced that States schools would end the autumn term tomorrow, three days early, due to Covid-19 related concerns.
‘The NASUWT supports the committee’s decision to end the autumn term early,’ said general secretary Dr Patrick Roach.
‘However further steps are required, and the union also urges the committee to act immediately and to not delay critical decisions until the commencement of the school and college holiday period regarding the approach in January.
‘An immediate announcement from the committee on additional measures for schools and colleges is, we believe, essential before schools and colleges close for the Christmas break.’
The union’s recommendations include staggering the return of students to schools and colleges in January; providing on-site testing and resources for students; and publishing further guidance advising schools and colleges to cancel or postpone non-essential activities and events, to move to virtual staff and parent meetings, and to mandate work-from-home measures where appropriate.
‘The NASUWT believes that these measures, together with wider States measures including on vaccinations, are proportionate and responsible, and will contribute to our shared aim of minimising further disruption to children’s education,’ said Dr Roach.
The union said it had taken on board emerging evidence regarding the impact of the Omicron variant.
Dr Roach highlighted scientific modelling which suggests case numbers, hospitalisations and deaths across the UK may continue to rise into January.
Immediate introduction of additional education measures could help slow the spread of the virus and reduce further disruptions to education, it said.
‘Available evidence strongly points to the need for additional control measures to be in place now and through the start of next term,’ Dr Roach said.