The Union of Professional Educators – Voice of the Workers has just received a notification forwarded via email to all state schools in which parents are being asked to not only ensure that their children are warmly dressed in layers on cold days, but also to provide them with a small blanket which can be placed over the legs on cold days, if necessary.
This kind of notification raises red flags over the potential exposure of our educators, and the children in their care, to inclement temperatures which are bound to lead to health issues. By forwarding this kind of notification to schools and parents, the Ministry of Education is thus admitting that the temperatures within classrooms are well below anything recommended by Health and Safety Regulations.
The children are being asked to take blankets to school, which they can place over their legs to keep warm, but nothing of the sort can be made use of by the educator who cannot afford to be wrapped up in anything as cumbersome as a blanket, small as it may be, so as to be equally protected from the cold.
In no other profession does one see such disregard of the health and safety of the professional at the place of work while performing their duties. It should be redundant, at any point in time, to quote the Subsidiary Legislation 424.15, Work Place (Minimum Health and Safety Requirements) Regulations, last amended in 2016, which states:
“11. (2) The employer shall ensure that no person is employed for regular and prolonged work:
- in a thermal environment which is unsuitable for the type of work being carried out, or which may be harmful to health;”