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Teaching staff redeployed over adherence to Covid-19 guidelines

Three unvaccinated members of teaching staff in local schools have been seconded to other departments after failing or being unable to comply with public health guidelines, the Gibraltar Government has confirmed.

According to measures outlined in a policy document for teaching staff, those who are unvaccinated are required to carry out daily swabs or wear a mask within enclosed areas.

After weeks of discussions with the individuals concerned, two from one school and one from another school have been redeployed to non-school settings for a period of at least four weeks while the current Public Health Gibraltar guidelines are in place.

A spokesman for the Department of Education told the Chronicle it has ensured learning and teaching at the affected schools “continues in as smooth and uninterrupted a manner as possible”.

“The teaching responsibilities of any individuals who have been redeployed, who are teaching members of staff, are being undertaken by other teachers,” the spokesman added.

“The Department of Education has worked closely with schools to ensure that the transition resulting from the temporary but necessary redeployment is managed sensitively and with care, with a view to making any negative impact be as minimal as possible.”

“It is not an ideal scenario, but we are managing it as best we can.”

The decision to redeploy members of staff comes after further discussions were held with the individuals concerned.

All teachers and non-teaching staff are subject to measures outlined in the Staff Compliance with Official Public Health Guidance SARS-CoV-S (Covid-19) policy document, based on the recommendations and guidance from the Director of Public Health Gibraltar.

Unvaccinated staff who comply with the measures outlined in the policy document have continued to work in school settings, the spokesman said.

According to the policy document, unvaccinated staff can opt to wear a mask in enclosed areas or opt for a daily swab test

“Senior leaders in schools have engaged in conversations with staff who are unable to or choose not to comply, from a position of support, to ascertain whether there were ways of ensuring compliance moving forward,” a spokesman for the Department of Education said.

“Where this has been possible (via whatever measures selected by the individual which were in keeping with the policy document), the process of engaging with individuals ceased.”

“Where this was not possible, conversations progressed to the next phase of the policy.”

“The redeployment stage has only been reached once all the previous phases and conversations have been undertaken and it is established that the status of the individuals will continue to be one of non-compliance.”

The three have been moved outside of the school setting, after “it was established that the individual was not able to or continued to choose not to comply with the measures outlined in the policy document”.

The decision was taken by the Department of Education, with the guidance of the Director of Public Health Gibraltar, the Human Resource Manager, and colleagues at the Gibraltar Law Office, as a result of each individual’s personal position in regard to the Staff Compliance with Official Public Health Guidance SARS-CoV-S (Covid-19) Policy, the spokesman said.

The Department of Education is expecting this to continue for the period of time that Public Health Gibraltar’s current recommendations, especially for unvaccinated staff, is in place, or until recommendations from Director of Public Health Gibraltar, the Human Resource Manager, and colleagues at the Gibraltar Law Office change.

This redeployment is expected to last for a period of four weeks, the spokesman added.

 

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