Dear Friend,
To use an overused phrase, this week has been challenging. The increasing cases of COVID-19 in Victoria and growing concern is impacting heavily upon our schools. Many have experienced closures, in some cases for a second time.
This impact is being felt by all education sectors, in all areas of Victoria.
That is why today the AEU and the Independent Education Union have issued this joint statement.
We have called on Premier Andrews and Minister Merlino to urgently provide schools with the flexibility and support needed to deliver high quality educational programs while ensuring the health and safety of teachers, support staff, principals, and students.  
The current DET policy for schools to require VCE, VCAL and special school students to attend onsite is failing too many students and does not enable schools to put in place reasonable and necessary health and safety measures to protect staff and students. 
This is causing significant, and growing anxiety for staff and we have made our message clear today that this must change.
The blanket approach of DET does not address the myriad different circumstances individual schools are dealing with, including school closures, positive cases in students and staff, student and staff absence, and trying to meet the educational needs of our kids. School leaders understand the flexibility needed in their local context to put in place suitable and safe arrangements for their communities. This flexibility could include reducing the numbers of staff and students on-site and the provision of quality education not only to students attending school on-site but also to those whose parents have kept them at home. Such measures are vital to protecting everyone’s physical and psychological health.
I want to thank those members who have taken action to contact your local MP and outline your concerns. If you have not done so, I encourage you to make contact. We need to keep working collectively to keep the pressure on DET and the government.
The current policy is not working for schools and must be changed.
In solidarity,

Meredith Peace
President, AEU Victorian Branch
Copyright © 2020 AEU Victoria, All rights reserved.

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