Teachers union wants support to avoid Covid disruption
A TEACHERS union has called for schools in Wales to be given additional protections against coronavirus-related disruption during the new term.
The NASUWT union says teachers in Wales “desperately” want to offer face-to-face learning to all pupils and avoid further disrupting exam plans.
The Welsh government announced its new Covid guidelines for schools for resuming education next week on Friday.
But NASUWT fears the Omicron variant of the virus, which has spread across Wales in recent weeks, will pose new problems for schools this term, with many teachers having to self-isolate if infected. .
Secretary General Patrick Roach called on the Welsh government to take “immediate action” to keep schools open and avoid “significant disruption” in the new legislature.
“This is particularly important to protect disadvantaged and vulnerable children and young people who have often been most affected by the pandemic,” added Dr Roach.
The NASUWT called for more financial support to cover any additional expenses for substitute teachers, and more resources for in-school testing. The government should also fund air purification units in all schools that need them, and should minimize any further changes to Covid education-related measures, the union argued.
“Teachers, pupils, students and parents will be concerned about the potential risk of further disruption to schools caused by the Omicron variant,” said Neil Butler, NASUWT Country Manager for Wales.
“The Welsh government must do everything in its power to prevent schools from experiencing significant staffing problems in the next term and further undermining the education of children and young people.”
Responding to NASUWT’s comments, a Welsh government spokesperson said: “We are doing everything we can to protect schools from the impact of the Omicron variant and minimize disruption to learners.
“We continue to monitor the situation as new evidence and information becomes available and are working closely with our key partners, including unions and local authorities.
“All staff and high school learners are strongly encouraged to test three times a week and schools can order tests directly each week.
“Schools can also access the Hardship Fund through their local authorities to cover the costs of a range of Covid-related issues, including coverage for staff absences. ”