UPE reports 'panic' on first day of school for educators

On the first day of school for educators, the Union of Professional Educators says it has received reports of dirty classrooms and chaotic setups such as crammed staff rooms going against social distancing protocols 

Educators in State schools returned back to their workplace today to a different environment conditioned by measures to minimise the risk of
Educators in State schools returned back to their workplace today to a different environment conditioned by measures to minimise the risk of

The first morning back in the classroom for teachers has been categorised by “panic” due to unpreparedness in State schools, the Union of Professional Educators (UPE) said.

The UPE said that it had received reports of "alleged dirty classrooms" and "chaotic" setups with staff rooms crammed with desks going  against social distancing protocols.

In one particular case, a room, that is supposed to host a maximum of six adults with social distancing in mind, has been reported to be hosting 30 educators. Teachers have been given new time tables again, thus rendering all the planning they have done to date redundant,” the union said.

While teachers returned to schools this morning, students will return to their classrooms in a staggered manner between 7 October and 14 October.

The UPE has already registered multiple industrial disputes over the treatment of educators with the reopening of schools. 

The UPE also said it received several reports of LSEs claiming that while seating arrangements were made to cater for students and teachers, no such arrangement was contemplated for LSEs.

“Internet connections have also been reported as being extremely unstable and educators have not been in a position to connect to platforms to continue with their work. All of this was reported within just the first few hours of school,” the union said.

The UPE said it will continue to keep a “watchful” eye on the current situation and called on the Education Minister to get things sorted as soon as possible to ensure a safe and adequate working environment for its members.

The union asked its members to report unsafe conditions going against the protocols and to support their reports with photographic evidence so that the issues can be flagged with the ministry. Anonymity will be guaranteed for anyone submitting any reports, the union said.

Reports can be submitted to the union via email at [email protected]

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