EEAST interim guidance regarding school closures

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Following the Prime Minsters 5pm briefing yesterday (Wednesday 18th March 2020), we want to update our provisions in relation to school closures. 

Schools have been advised that they should remain open for children of key workers, so that the NHS and other key public sector organisations can maintain vital services and minimise the disruption to patients.  What this looks like in practice will no doubt evolve over the coming days.  You may be required to register yourself as a key worker with your children’s school and understand what arrangements have been put in place in your local community.  It is understood that schools providing this facility will list this on the relevant county council and local school websites under school closures. 

If your child/dependant’s school closes please ensure you do all you can to seek alternative ways for children to be safely cared for.  However, the recommendations are that children should not be looked after by others who are classed as being in a ‘vulnerable group’, for example elderly grandparents.

So that the Trust can provide a responsible, reasonable and proportionate response to our staff, we will be seeking your support in working with us to find suitable and appropriate alternative working solutions to help you balance your work and caring responsibilities. These will include exploring alternative ways of working, changing working patterns/hours, remote working etc. If we’re not able to secure alternative working arrangements we will explore, on a case by case basis, alternative leave arrangements. Such requests will be considered in line with our established Special Leave Policy, we may also discuss the use of TOIL and/or annual leave and unpaid leave.

These actions should be considered carefully on a case by case basis by you and your line manager. We will try to support all leave requests while other caring arrangements are being made. Our dual aims are to keep your children safe and cared for while also maximising all available staff resources to deliver safe patient care across all of our service areas. We understand that individual needs, and therefore the solutions, will differ. When considering options, we ask that the primary aim of supporting staff to stay well and stay at work is kept in mind. If that is the guiding principal, then we are confident that you and your line manager will work to find an appropriate solution.  

Please keep up to date with your local schools and authorities for further information on how the ‘key worker’ scheme will operate for your children/dependants and maintain open dialogue with your line manager and where applicable scheduling teams.

Thank you very much for your continued cooperation in this fast changing environment and for continuing to provide services to the very many people who need us, now more than ever.

John Syson
Interim Director of Workforce

Published 19th March 2020

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