March 12, 2021 at 12:36 pm
Online teaching and learning – the way forward for educators
The following are the points of principle on which the MUT is agreeing with the Ministry for Education for state schools for the period between the 15th and 30th March 2021. Church and Independent schools will be ratified separately but shall be similar. Detailed guidelines will be issued by respective employers and educators are encouraged to ask them for clear directions in this regard.
The MUT appreciates that this is a difficult period for everyone and appeals to all educators to work together in the current circumstances and resolve issues encountered in a professional manner. The health and safety of educators, students and families is of paramount importance and always needs to be kept in mind. The union will continue to monitor the situation and assist members accordingly. The MUT thanks all members for their continuous support.
Points of principle agreed with the Ministry for Education:
1. School personnel including all educators, technical grades, and student services grades will be able to work remotely from home unless, in exceptional cases, the respective employee requests specifically to work from a school/office and the request can be accommodated. Any reporting at the workplace (schools/offices) during this period is to be discouraged.
2. Other grades represented by the MUT shall use OPM Directive 13 for teleworking;
3. In accordance with the Right to Disconnect, educators shall adhere with the established school hours and work practices;
4. All leave procedures including special leave and sick leave shall continue to apply as per current practice;
5. Teaching and learning shall be carried out in a structured manner, with approved platforms such as MS Teams and MySchool already being used for online teaching;
6. School hours and calendars shall not be changed;
7. In the case of kindergarten, years 1 and 2, a flexible approach shall be taken with regards to the length and number of lessons/activities in early years;
8. For the rest of primary years, the timetable will be based on the Virtual School with shorter lessons and frequent breaks. Details about this will be issued by respective employers;
9. In the case of middle and secondary years, the timetable shall emulate current timetables in use. It is recommended that synchronous interaction with students through live audio and video should not exceed 20 mins for each lesson. Each lesson should be of 35 minutes, with a 10-minute break in between lessons. The remaining 15 minutes shall include other teaching and learning modes as decided by the educator;
10. Peripatetic and support teachers shall revert to their role in the respective subjects/areas, with timetabled sessions. This shall be applicable for those who have not been assigned a primary class at the beginning of the scholastic year;
11. LSEs will attend lessons as per timetable to support their students. There shall be coordination of work with respective teachers and LSEs shall continue to use platforms in place;
12. Educators and students will be able to take home any necessary resources as per usual procedures;
13. School SMT may only attend lessons with teachers upon request to be added in the respective lesson. This shall reflect and must not exceed the current procedure of class visits;
14. Student attendance shall continue to be recorded by the teacher as per current practice;
15. No additional paperwork, records or otherwise shall be requested from educators beyond the ones which are currently being provided;
16. Meetings between SMT or other officials and educators shall be carried out taking into consideration educators’ timetables and at no stage can meetings be held outside school hours or during weekends;
17. The current Virtual Schools already operating shall continue as per separate agreement. Students attending the middle and secondary Virtual School may also join online lessons for subjects not provided by the Virtual School;
18. Mock exams of Year 11 will be postponed to a later date. Directions will be issued separately by the respective Directorate;
19. Contact tracing and COVID-link officers’ duties, processes and procedures adopted need to remain in place and to this effect, these officers must have direct access to all records remotely to ensure timely intervention when needed.