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updates Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Covid-19: Temporary reassignment of education staff

The Department of Education and Skills has issued Circular 0027/2020 on the temporary reassignment of certain staff in the education sector.

The Circular outlines criteria and procedures for the reassignment of staff in the Education Sector. It is Management’s function to consider how best to utilise staff to facilitate the delivery of education and essential support services to students. Any public service staff member who is not required to be retained in providing education and essential support services and has not been medically advised to self-isolate will be available for assignment on a temporary basis to support delivery of other essential public services.

In relation to teachers, the Circular states that the priority is the continuation of students’ learning and the essential delivery of tuition during the school closure period. In this context the ASTI expects that it is unlikely that a significant number of teachers, if any at all, will be reassigned.

Click here for Circular 0027/2020.

Click here for Department of Education and Skills press statement on temporary assignment arrangements for education/ training staff.

Click here for FAQ document on Temporary assignment arrangements for certain staff in the education and training sector 

Substitute teachers 
The ASTI, INTO and TUI have written to the Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh regarding the need for a wage subsidy for substitute teachers. Click here to read letter. 

Substitute teachers will receive their accrued holiday pay on April 9th. 

School meals programme 
The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, the Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs has devised updated guidelines for the schools and organisations in the School Meals Programme as they set out to source and supply meals during the extended closures. Click here to readstatement.

Schools closed until April 19
Schools will remain closed until April 19. Teachers will continue to support their schools and students remotely. Click here to read statement.

Click here to read letter from Department of Education and Skills to schools regarding the delivery of education during the Covid-19 school closure period.

State Examination oral and practical performance tests cancelled
All oral and practical performance tests of the state examinations which were originally scheduled to take place from Monday 23 March to Friday 3 April 2020 have been cancelled.  All students who were due to take these tests will be awarded full marks for this portion of the exam. See Department statement here and State Examinations Commission statement here. See ASTI response here. See FAQ document from State Examinations Commission on cancellation of Oral and Practical Performance tests here.

Head Office contact details
Due to the covid-19 outbreak, ASTI Head Office is operating normally but remote working is in operation. The contact details are set out below. Every effort will be made to respond promptly and efficiently. Please see list here.

Pay during school closures
Teachers will continue to be paid by the Department of Education and Skills. See Department note on payment of salary/ pension during school closure - click here.

The Department of Education and Skills has implemented remote working for Department staff. This includes the operation of the payroll section.  Revised contact details are available here.

ASTI Convention postponed
ASTI Convention 2020 is being postponed due to COVID-19. The INTO and TUI have also postponed their Easter conferences. See joint statement here

COVID-19: Special Arrangements
The ASTI is liaising with the Department of Education and Skills in relation to teachers and COVID-19. ASTI members are advised to check the ASTI website on a regular basis and the following Department of Education and Skills webpage - click here. 

The Department of Education and Skills has issued Circular 0024/2020 which details special arrangements for teachers during the Covid-19 Delay Phase. This Circular sets arrangements in relation to Restricted Movement, Self-Isolation, and Special Leave with Pay. 

Click here for Circular 0024/2020
Circular 0024/2020 supersedes Circular 0020/2020.

Keeping well in challenging times
The Department of Education and Skills operates an Employee Assistance Service for the 55,000 teachers in the country. The scheme is run by Inspire Workplace Services (formerly Carecall), which provides a 24 hour 7 day help line for teachers. 

The Employment Assistance Service helpline can be contacted on 1800 411 057
The ASTI along with TUI and INTO had been seeking such a service for many years. Under Health & Safety legislation employers have a duty of care for their employers and this service is funded by the Department to address part of that duty.

Teachers who are experiencing personal and work-related problems e.g. health, relationships, addictions, bereavements, stress, trauma etc will now be able to get direct access to advice. Where appropriate this may involve free short term confidential one-to-one counselling.

Further information on the service is attainable from ASTI. More information is available here.

Further information
Department of Education and Skills: COVID-19 announcements - Click here.

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform guidance note for HR in the Civil and Public Service - Click here.

ASTI President and General Secretary statement to members re. Covid-19 - Click here.

Circular Letter 0024/2020  - Coronavirus (COVID-19) Delay Phase  Arrangements for Teachers and Special Needs Assistants  employed in recognised primary and post primary schools  - Click here.

For ASTI FAQs click here.

Click here for Irish Congress of Trade Unions web page on safe working during Covid-19