The safety and well-being of our supply staff and schools is paramount to WorkwithSchools.
Following the government’s lockdown announcement on 4th January 2021, schools are currently open to vulnerable and critical worker (keyworker) children and nurseries are currently open to all children.
As the definitions of critical worker and vulnerable children are now wider than in the previous lockdown, many schools in York have larger than anticipated groups in school (whilst also having a statutory duty to provide remote learning to pupils at home).
Government guidance is that schools can continue to use supply staff during the pandemic particularly to assist in delivering face to face education and as a result WwS are continuing to receive supply bookings.
At this stage, we are only offering furlough to our supply staff who have been asked to shield or who have caring responsibilities.
However, in the circumstances, schools prefer to limit the number of new staff in school and in line with guidance some of these requests are for ongoing bookings.
The Government guidance expressly says:-
“Where it is necessary to use supply staff, they will be expected to comply with the school’s arrangements for managing and minimising risk and schools should ensure that all temporary staff have access to the information on the safety arrangements in place, that this is provided as soon as possible after a booking is confirmed.”
We are asking schools for any up-to-date risk assessments/safety details, and will share these with you as soon as we can.
As part of their strategy to minimise risk, schools who book supply staff for more than an odd day are asking WwS supply staff to have regular asymptomatic Lateral Flow Antigen tests (in line with arrangements being made with their permanent staff).
As about 1 in 3 people with coronavirus have no symptoms, and will be spreading the virus without realising, these asymptomatic Lateral Flow Antigen tests are proactive, safe, reliable, and provide results within a few hours.
The WwS supply team who, unable to work from home during the lockdown, are coming into contact with other people during the course of their work in education and early years settings, are eligible for this symptom-free testing if they are currently working/available for work in schools (though not if they are on furlough).
While Lateral Flow Testing is currently voluntary, schools are asking first for WwS staff who are having regular tests. So we are encouraging our supply staff to book a test through CYC, so they don’t miss out on work, and help keep them, their family and friends as safe as possible, and to help protect those most vulnerable to COVID-19.
Of course advice remains that if they have symptoms of Coronavirus or receive a positive test result from the Lateral Flow test they must self-isolate for 10 days.
Please contact the WwS team on 01904 554195 or reply to this email if you have any questions about any of the above.