Supporting staff at risk of adverse health impact from COVID-19
Found in: SCEA News | Published on: 14 May 2020
Now that our students are no longer working off-campus and have returned to classroom-based learning, the expectation is that all staff are required to return to their school. Based on the very best health advice provided by the Department of Health and Department of Education, we know that schools are safe, and the risk of COVID-19 infection transfer for staff and students is minimal. However, we must remain vigilant with our safe hygiene measures that have been put in place across our schools. We must also establish risk mitigation strategies for any staff who have underlying health issues, that may make them more vulnerable to adverse health outcomes should they contract a virus like COVID-19.
For staff who are in a vulnerable/high-risk health category, please discuss this with your Principal, so that consideration can be given to reduce your exposure to other staff members or students.
For those who are in the high-risk category and are not sure if it is safe to return to work, medical advice must be sought. To access leave entitlements or income protection insurance (if the time off is substantial) the medical certificate must be 'current' and clearly state that the staff member is 'unfit to return to work'.
Where a staff member has been given a medical certificate as noted above, they will be able to access their personal leave provisions. If this leave has been exhausted, the Principal may grant a period of unpaid leave. SCEA has also put in place a policy that makes the provision of some limited additional leave available, in extraordinary circumstances (e.g. terminal illness of a staff member) and this is assessed on a case-by-case basis by the Principal and CEO.
Please also know that all SCEA staff have access to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) if there is a need to speak with a Counsellor who is external to our organisation.