MR plays an important role in the further opening of secondary education
The cabinet believes that the XNUMX meter distance between pupils in secondary education can be eliminated. However, this poses risks for the staff. The MR plays an important role in the question of whether - and how - schools can continue to open safely.
The OMT has advised the cabinet that - under strict conditions - the distance rule between pupils in secondary education can be abandoned. On the basis of this advice, the cabinet has decided that the schools can be fully reopened from 31 May.
However, the OMT advice is very cautious. It states that many clusters of infections have been reported since the reopening of secondary education in March - up to 60 in April. Teachers were also affected in XNUMX percent of those clusters. The further opening of secondary education can, according to the OMT, lead to a significant increase in the number of infections.
According to the Working Conditions Act, every employer must assess the risks to the health of employees and consult with the (P) MR
According to the OMT, an 'active testing policy' should be pursued in schools to prevent infections from recurring. All students must then conduct a self-test under supervision twice a week. Students who test positive are immediately quarantined.
This condition of the OMT means that the school must ensure that the students actually carry out the self-test twice a week. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science wants the students to do the self-tests at home. However, it is expected that only a limited number of students will follow this up. Self-tests are also only performed on a voluntary basis.
Only in the case of a source of infection will tests be carried out at school, with the involvement of the GGD. But even then, testing remains voluntary.
Working Conditions Act
The minister has announced that the schools will in principle be fully open from 7 June. But it does allow for customization and schools are not held to the impossible. The Working Conditions Act (Arbowet) is important here. This law obliges every employer to ensure the safety of employees and to take all necessary measures to this end. This can therefore mean that a school can only partially open.
Pursuant to the Working Conditions Act, every employer in a new situation must assess the risks to the health of employees and consult the (P) MR - or at a secondary / MBO school: OR about the necessary measures. The participation council can pay attention to a number of important points. As:
- How will the school ensure that students are actually tested twice a week?
- And how will the school ensure that the XNUMX meter distance rule between pupils and staff will also be enforced? This partly depends on the actual housing situation of the school (including the corridors and classrooms).
- Do the pupils stick to a distance of XNUMX meters from the staff and do they observe the duty of masking outside the classrooms?
- Is the ventilation in order? Because according to the RIVM, contamination can also take place via aerosols under certain circumstances. Especially in rooms where there is no or too little ventilation and / or many people, especially for a longer period of time, are together. Does the ventilation in all rooms meet the standards?
In recent weeks, many secondary school colleagues have expressed serious concerns about their safety should the school reopen fully without proper measures.
Because of the situation that has now arisen, the education unions see AOb, CNV, Fvov, FNV Education and LIA are forced to do so appoint their members on their right to use the interrupt work. There also is a roadmap (the step-by-step plan has been renewed on Sunday morning!). The unions also call on anyone who is concerned about their own safety to enter into a dialogue with the employer, where possible collectively.
Right of consent
Both the PMR and the MR as a whole have a right of consent for most measures that are necessary for a safe further opening of education.
- If it concerns the safety of teaching staff (Working Conditions Act), the PMR has the right of consent on the basis of Article 12 of the WMS.
- If it also concerns safety for the students, which is often the case, then the right of consent of the entire council also applies (Article 10 WMS). In those cases, therefore, both the MR as a whole, but also the PMR, must separately agree to the measures.
- In the case of measures that only concern the safety of the pupils, there is a decision 'not belonging to the competence of the staff section', and only the right of consent of the MR as a whole is involved.
Our advice to the (P) MR is: check with the teaching staff to what extent the school can be opened further and whether additional measures are needed. Discuss this with the school management. In principle, the (P) MR must have agreed to these measures (or to the decision that no further measures are required) before the school can be fully resumed. Where necessary, the (P) MR can also file a report with the Inspectorate SZW (formerly the Labor Inspectorate). See also the AObguide 'Covid-19 and safe education'.