UNISON Northern Ireland

To all members working in Education and in school settings

To all members working in Education and in school settings.

Dear Members

We are all operating in a fast moving and fluid situation.

We understand that you have a number of unanswered questions on how school closures will unfold over the next week and how the Department of Education and EA intend to support child care for essential workers substantially in the health service.

We are posting information as quickly as it has been sent to trade unions. We have stressed the need to have an overall Q and A document which deals with all of the issues and have been told that this is being prepared.

We have raised questions on pay. Staff will be paid full pay for contracted hours during term time.

EA Temporary staff contracts will be maintained as per their current contracts. Pay for these staff will maintained as per their contracts. If you are directly employed by the school, this may not be the case.

We are currently pursuing questions on child care for school staff required to support provision for essential workers, we are told a Q&A document will be published shortly. We expect this to be issued shortly by the Education Authority.

Some school Principals are advising staff to contact their unions. THIS is IMPRACTICAL as we do not yet have all the information required.

The employer has the responsibility to respond. For most of you this will be the EA, for others it will be the school, for a small number it may be a service provider.

We will do our best to assist you with any problems you may have. Please contact your branch secretary online or by phone in the first instance.

Stay safe and well.


Cleaning Guidance

Management wish to advise that, the current system of work undertaken at schools by the Cleaning Service meets the cleaning requirements of the PHA in dealing with Covid-19. This is due to the fact that, unlike other viruses such as the norovirus which required a deep clean, Covid-19 is not resistant to cleaning and therefore can be dealt with through the normal cleaning regime and cleaning products.

The well-being and health and safety of cleaning staff is paramount. Consequently, the Education Authority has taken the decision that, should there be a confirmed case of Covid-19 or a person is symptomatic, the office/classroom or building affected will be prohibited from use for a period of 72 hours and cleaned once this period has expired. In accordance with the advice provided by the PHA, the risk is likely to be significantly reduced after the 72 hour period. This action significantly reduces the risk to cleaners in cleaning an office/classroom or building which may be affected by Covid-19.

Management would also confirm that EA Cleaning has maintained a constant stock of PPE equipment and cleaning products and has not experienced any adverse impact in supplying both PPE equipment and cleaning products to its cleaners.

In accordance with the PHA Guidelines, all cleaners are supplied with disposable gloves and aprons whilst undertaking an enhanced clean.

In addition, the Cleaning Service is responsible for the provision of cleaning to approximately sixty percent of grant maintained schools in NI. The remainder of schools in NI have chosen, in accordance with their delegated responsibilities, to be responsible for the management and service delivery of cleaning in their schools. In order to assist all schools in dealing with Covid-19, the Education Authority has offered assistance to those schools currently not using the EA Cleaning Service, with regards to advice, resources and cleaning products.

The provision and management of caretaking staff is a delegated responsibility for schools.

Cleaning Guidance from EA