January 20, 2022

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Covid-19 Australia: Teachers threaten to stage boycott over coronavirus rule changes

Covid-19 Australia: Teachers threaten to stage boycott over coronavirus rule changes
Australian teachers threaten to BOYCOTT the classroom after Scott Morrison announces plan to get them back to work: 'Treated like baby-sitters'Teachers threatened to stage a boycott after changes made to Covid isolationScott Morrison announced close contact teachers would not need to isolateCanberra staff have also been told to keep classrooms open during outbreaks By Aidan Wondracz…

Australian teachers threaten to BOYCOTT the classroom after Scott Morrison announces plan to get them back to work: ‘Treated like baby-sitters’

  • Teachers threatened to stage a boycott after changes made to Covid isolation
  • Scott Morrison announced close contact teachers would not need to isolate
  • Canberra staff have also been told to keep classrooms open during outbreaks 

By Aidan Wondracz and Levi Parsons For Daily Mail Australia

Published: | Updated:

Teachers have threatened to stage a boycott after Scott Morrison announced they would be required to stay in the classroom even if they are a Covid-19 close contact.

Mr Morrison announced on Thursday a series of sweeping changes to Covid isolation and close contact rules in order to stem staff shortages.

Teachers and childcare workers are now exempt from close contact isolation rules while staff in Canberra have been told to keep classrooms open even during Omicron outbreaks.

Australian Education Union president Correna Haythorpe labelled the changes as ‘deeply offensive’ while claiming that staff have been treated like ‘babysitters’.

Teachers have threatened to stage a boycott after Scott Morrison announced they would be required to stay in the classroom even if they are a Covid-19 close contact

Mr Morrison announced on Thursday a series of sweeping changes to Covid isolation and close contact rules in order to stem staff shortages

‘As a consequence, the AEU would advise our members that if they feel vulnerable as a close contact or they are worried about the potential risk to others, they should not be going into a school environment,’ she said.

‘All the Prime Minister provided was an announcement that there would be another announcement, delivered within a frame that says schools must be open to provide a babysitting service for the broader workforce.

Ms Haythorpe claimed the changes were putting the welfare of students and teachers at risk. 

‘This is deeply offensive and shows no respect for the thousands of dedicated and professional teachers, principals and education support staff who have worked incredibly hard to provide a high-quality education during the extremely difficult circumstances of the pandemic.’ 

The Independent Education Union of Australia’s NSW/ACT branch added exempting teachers from isolation rules could lead to more classroom closures. 

The new isolation rules also apply to anyone working in the food supply sector as well as the transport, freight and logistics industries whose role is deemed critical. 

Critics say the relaxed rules are likely to lead to even more positive cases, amplifying the supply chain crunch, as rapid tests notoriously do not pick up someone’s infection for a number of days – meaning they could test negative, but still be infectious. 

Australian Education Union president Correna Haythorpe labelled the changes as ‘deeply offensive’ while claiming that staff have been treated like ‘babysitters’

WHAT ARE THE NEW RELAXED ISOLATION RULES? 

In order to ease the supply chain crisis wreaking havoc on Australia, the PM has announced that workers in many critical sectors will no longer have to isolate if they are a close contact and have returned a negative RAT result. They also must have no symptoms.

Workers in the following industries who are deemed to have critical roles will be subject the new rules:

–  Food supply 

– Transport, freight and logistics

– Teachers and childcare workers 

– Emergency services personnel 

– Energy and resources

– Water and waste management

– Telecommunications

– Broadcasting and media 

It comes as the prime minister slammed so called ‘Omicron parties’ where some Australians are getting together to intentionally catch the virus in the mistaken belief it will make them ‘immune’.  

Australia recorded a staggering 150,000 new Covid cases on Thursday with a back log of some 60,000 RAT results added to the tally in NSW dating back to January 1.

Mr Morrison said a solution to the issues facing Australia must strike a ‘very delicate balance’ between public health and the economy.

‘The less restrictions you put on people to get them to work, the more pressure that could potentially put on your hospital system, and vice-versa,’ he said.

‘The more you try to protect your hospital system, the more people you are taking out of work, which disrupt supply chains.’ 

In a frank admission, the PM admitted that the goal is not to stop everyone in the country getting Covid, it’s to ‘protect our hospitals and keep our society and economy functioning as we ride this latest wave of Omicron’.

Ms Haythorpe claimed the changes were putting the welfare of students and teachers at risk

Treasury Secretary Steven Kennedy outlined that about 10 per cent of the Australia workforce is currently off the job due to the isolation requirements.  

Mr Morrison said the problem is likely to get worse if the start of the school year is delayed at the end of the month – as Queensland and South Australia have decided to do.   

‘If schools don’t open, that can add an additional five per cent of absenteeism in the workforce,’ the prime minister said.

‘It is absolutely essential for schools to go back safely and remain safely open if we are not going to see any further exacerbation of the workforce challenges we are currently facing.

‘We did have a serious discussion about that today, and the advice from the medical expert panel. We will be confirming our views on that over the course of the next week.’  

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