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2020-04-07

Coronavirus in schools - information in english

Here is a summary of the latest development concerning the coronavirus and schools.

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​Government decision on the corona situation in school

On-line education for upper secondary school

2020-03-17. The Public Health Authority recommends all upper secondary schools, vocational colleges, universities, adult education and SFI teaching on distance and not in the school premises. This is in accordance with the decree adopted by the Government on Friday 13 March 2020. The Government will present a proposal in the Riksdag that students with funding will receive continued compensation even if the education cannot be completed or if the education is completely canceled.

Read more on the Swedish National Agency for Education's website.


No nationwide closure of schools

2020-03-12. The Swedish Minister for Education, Anna Ekström, announced that there will be no nationwide closure of schools in Sweden at this point. The Government announces that decisions on closure should be made by the governing body of the respective schools, in consultation with infection control authorities.

The government is also making changes to the legislation, so that schools that need to be closed can teach students later, such as on weekends, the summer holidays or the semester after. The reason for closures can be both because many students are ill, but also that the teachers are infected by coronavirus.

– If school closures leads to the extension of semesters and weekend work, it must of course be on reasonable terms. We teachers and school leaders will take our responsibility, we always do. Now we need clear messages, Johanna Jaara Åstrand, president of The Swedish Teachers Union (Lärarförbundet) says .

Agreement in case of crisis

Should the situation develop into a full scale crisis, there is a crisis situation agreement for the municipal operations signed by the unions and the employer organisations. If that agreement should be actualized for your municipality through a special decision, it is still primarily within the school that work will be ordered. If the agreement is updated, more information about it will be posted. Regarding independent schools there is no such crisis situation agreement, that can change the conditions for employers' right of management.

Qualifying period/Karensdag

The Swedish government has announced that the qualifying period/karensdag, the first sick-leave day that normally is unpaid, is removed in order to make it easier for people to stay home when they get sick.

The Swedish Teachers' Union welcomes the message. The school is in the midst of the crisis and affects far more people than the already large group that is in the school every day. Therefore, the need for clear signals and recommendations from society is great.

– It must be easy to do the right thing, and the different signals of society must be connected. Should a teacher stay at home even with minor illness symptoms, it is unreasonable not to delete the day of waiting, which also the government has now realized, says Teachers' Association chair Johanna Jaara Åstrand.

Medical certificate

The Swedish government has announced that medical certificate will not be needed for employees on sickleave on a period up to 14 days.

Obligation to be available

As an employee, you have an obligation to be available to the employer. This means that if a worker chooses to stay at home because of fear and worry without their employers consent, they do not have the right to get salary. In addition, there is an obvious risk that it will be seen as a refusal to work.

For individual members with particular illness problems and / or impaired immune systems, it may be helpful to contact the employer for discussion about possible homework. However, as a basis, one must be at the employer's disposal. Healthcare assessments and any disabilities should be considered in the assessment.

An employee's work obligation does not extend beyond what is, within the collective agreement. This means, for example, that a teacher cannot be ordered to work in health care or other activities and a nurse cannot be ordered to work in the school. The scope of the duties that may be included in an employee's work obligation is based on the employment contract.

Quarantine

A municipal employer has the right to suspend workers and order them to work at home to prevent the spread of infection. If an employer chooses to do so, it should usually be consulted with a union organization.

The Teachers Cooperation Council (Lärarförbundet and Lärarnas Riksförbund) has now signed an agreement with the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SKR), which states that the employer, without prior consultation with the union, can make a decision on suspension with full payment, in order to prevent the spread of covid-19. The reason is that quick decisions are required in these cases and that it is not possible to let the employee work while awaiting deliberation and then deciding on suspension.

If a physician has decided that an employee may not work because he och she is - or may be - infected with a socially dangerous disease, such as covid-19, he och she is entitled to receive Diesease carrier´s benefit for emplyees, from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency.

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School closures

Under what conditions can schools be closed?

Municipial sector, KFO:

There is still some difference in interpretation about the premise of closing a school. It is clear that it is the governing body who makes the actual decision, but what are acceptable grounds are discussed, for example, whether a decision requires the recommendation of an infection control physician or if the principal can make the decision on his own initiative with the aim of limiting the spread of infection.

The regulations state that a principal can make the decision to close a school or pre-school at short notice under certain conditions, for example, for reasons of infection protection or work environment reasons. These are the same rules that apply to other employers and are regulated in the Contingency Protection Act and in the Work Environment Act. If students are unable to access education for a short period of time, the school can often compensate them for this through various measures. The National Agency for Education continuously informs about this.

https: //www.skolverket.se/regler-och-ansvar

Almega and IDEA

The new regulation states that the governing body of the school can decide to close the school at short notice under certain conditions

  1. The governing body determines that it is impossible to continue activities as usual due to absence among staff because of the new corona virus (SARS-CoV-2).
  2. The governing body decides, following the advice of medical expertise, to close the school, as a measure to minimize the spread of the new corona virus.
  3. The school is situated in an area that has been closed by the Public Health Authorities in accordance with the Infection Protection Act (2004: 168).
  4. The governing body, on recommendation from the Public Health Authorities, closes one or several school units. Different measures can be taken to ensure education for the students at school closures.

Information about these measures is published at The National Agency for Education: https://www.skolverket.se/regler-och-ansvar/ansvar... The school closure normally means that your employment as a teacher will continue and salaries will be paid. However, there might be consequences regarding work hours and remote work, etc.

Arbetsgivaralliansen Skola/Utbildning and TRIA (Waldorfskolor)

The new regulation says that a governing body of a school can decide to close a school at short notice under certain conditions. The Regulation may be applied under the following conditions:

1. a governing body has assessed that such a large proportion of the staff of a school unit is absent as a result of the new corona virus (SARS-CoV-2) that for some time the work cannot or has not been conducted and the governing body therefore holds or has kept the school unit closed.

2. a governing body after consultation with an infection control physician holds or has kept the school unit closed as a measure to prevent the spread of the new corona virus.

3. a school unit is located within an area that the Public Health Authority has decided must be closed down in accordance with the Infection Protection Act (2004: 168).

4. a governing body, on the basis of a recommendation from the Public Health Authority concerning the school district, holds or has kept one or several school units closed.

If students are unable to access education for a short period of time, the school can often compensate them for this through various measures. The National Agency for Education continuously informs about this here:

https://www.skolverket.se/regler-och-ansvar/ansvar...

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What is the government's decision on a special regulation?

Municipial sector, Almega and Idea, KFO,

Arbetsgivaralliansen Skola/Utbildning and TRIA (Waldorfskolor):

In order to make it easier to secure pupils the education they are entitled to, the government has decided on a special regulation to apply in cases where the principal decides to close a school. The regulation enables, among other things, extended school days and the teaching of Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

The regulation does not speak about how teaching should be catched up, but states that it is the governing body responsibility to ensure that this id done. The purpose of enabling extended school days, as well as the possibility of teaching on weekends, is to create opportunities, not allow them to do so. The regulation also allows the governing body to redistribute time between subjects and between school years as a way of handling the situation. The regulation is valid until June 2021, which is also the end of time period when lost teaching is to be handled.

In other words, there are a number of possibilities that mean that work om weekends and summer holidays, need not be the only or first option for the governing bodies.

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Can the employer change my working hours if the school is closed?

Municipial sector:

For those who have a ”ferieanställning”, according to the Working Hours Act, an employer can make changes to the laid-off working time with two weeks' notice. This means that your schedule of regulated working hours and so called A-days (A-dagar) to the first two weeks that the school is closed. After that, changes can be made. If the employer wants to make a change, you must be notified at least 14 days before

For those who have a ”semesteranställning”, a working time measure of 40 hours per week-free week applies. The number of working days per calendar year varies depending on how many vacation days you have and depending on how the holidays are distributed over the weekdays, but is between 225-230 working days per year. The distribution of working hours may look different between weeks, but the scheduled working time should be 40 hours on average during a reconciliation period. These reconciliation periods can be a maximum of 16 weeks and it is within the framework that the average should be 40 hours per week.

The working time can be shifted no later than the day before but preferably with 10 days notice, and compensation is paid according to contract for work in overtime and inconvenient time.

Almega and Idea:

If you work hours are split between a regulated and a non-regulated elements (Ferieanställning) the collective agreement within the Almega Free School Agreement, states that there must be an agreement between you and your employer or between the employer and the local employee organizations (until June 30, the local union department normally is the local part, except within AcadeMedia, where there is a national union department). The working time can be changed at the latest with one day notice, but should preferably be posted latest two weeks before the new schedule is applied, and compensation is paid in accordance with agreements for shifted working hours (agreement 4: 3), overtime and inconvenient time. Note that overtime compensation cannot be paid for the same time (4: 7: 2). If you work hours are split between a regulated and a non-regulated elements (ferieanställning), it is important to know that your 1360 hours can be distributed with a limit of 35 hours per week on average (calculated over a period of 6 months). The calculation period for fixed-term activities starts at the beginning of each semester (4: 4: 1). Also your working time/week is 40 hours. Working days/year varies depending on how many leave-days you take and on how the holidays are distributed, but app. there are between 225-230 days per year. The distribution of working hours may differ between weeks, but the scheduled working hours should be 40 hours on average/week during a period of maximum 6 months, alternatively according to local agreement (usually concerning a shorter calculation period). The working time can be changed at the latest with one day notice, but should preferably be posted latest two weeks before the new schedule is applied, and compensation is paid in accordance with agreements for shifted working hours (agreement 4: 3), overtime and inconvenient time. Note that overtime compensation cannot be paid for the same time (4: 7: 2). Finally, it is important to mention 4:2 in the agreement, ”longer working hours part of the year”, which may exceed 50 hours per week as long as:

1) The average working time per calendar year / work year does not exceed an average of 40 hours per week, and

2) There is a local collective agreement about this. The employer must not unilaterally decide on this.

KFO:

According to the collective agreement within the KFO, for those who have a ”ferieanställning”, there must be an agreement between you and your employer alternatives between employers and the local employee organization at the workplace in order for the regulated working hours to change. If you do not agree, either party can call for local negotiations, contact your local department!

For those who have a ”Semesteranställning”, a working time measure of 40 hours per week-free week applies. The number of working days per calendar year varies depending on how many vacation days you have and depending on how the holidays are distributed over the weekdays, but is between 225-230 working days per year. The distribution of working hours may look different between weeks, but the scheduled working time should be 40 hours on average during a reconciliation period.

These reconciliation periods can be a maximum of 4 weeks and it is within the framework that the average should be 40 hours per weekend-free week. If the employer wants to change the calculation period and the average weekly working time, negotiation with the trade union organization is required.

Arbetsgivaralliansen Skola/Utbildning and TRIA (Waldorfskolor):

For those who have a ferieanställning, according to the collective agreement within the Arbetsgivaralliansen, changes to the working time's placement must be handled in accordance with current rules of influence. In other words, the issue must be negotiated / collaborated locally before a change can be made.

For those who have a semesteranställning, a working time measure of 40 hours per holiday-free week applies. The number of working days per calendar year varies depending on how many vacation days you have and depending on how the holidays are distributed over the weekdays, but it is normally between 225-230 working days per year. The distribution of working hours may look different in-between weeks, but the scheduled working time should be 40 hours on average during a reconciliation period of six months.

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How can the employer change my working hours?

Municipial sector:

Teachers with ”semesteranställning” have 194 working days, in the collective agreement, called A-days. Teacher's regulated working hours are placed on the 194 A-days. If the school is closed, the employer can, for example, redistribute the A-days so that the Easter holiday will comprise two weeks and then place the 4 A-days that are then released to days that would otherwise have been unemployed, for example the Friday after Christian Ascension Day and May 1 and two extra days before the summer holidays in June.

For ”semesteranställda”, the working time schedule can also be changed, among other things by shifting working hours or re-adjusting the working time measure from 40 to 38, 25 hours to enable working hours for Saturday-Sunday. However, such changes require negotiation with the trade union organization. For municipal employees, working hours all rules relating to working hours and the allocation of working hours for vacation employees. (Allmänna Bestämmelser §13 Arbetstid).

Almega and Idea:

If you work hours are split between a regulated and a non-regulated elements (Ferieanställning) you have 194 working days. The regulated working hours are distributed on these 194 days. For example, if the school is closed, the employer can redistribute those days so that the "work-free easter holiday" may cover two weeks and the 4 days that are released will be placed on days that would have originally been free from work. The work schedule can also be changed, by adjusting the working time from 40 to lesser hours to enable working time on weekends. However, such changes require negotiation with the trade union organization.

The regulations concerning working hours and allocation of work hours within, Almega agreement, can be found in the Collective Agreement Free Schools § 4 Working hours. The agreement allows local parties to close local work time agreements (restrictions noted in the agreement.)

KFO:

Teachers with ”Ferieanställlning” have 194 working days. Teachers' regulated working hours are added to the 194 working days. If the school is closed, the employer can, for example, redistribute those days so that the Easter holiday will comprise two weeks and then place the 4 days that are then released to days that would otherwise have been unemployed, for example the Friday after Christ's Day and first May and two extra days. before the summer holidays in June.

For semesteranställda, the working time schedule can also be changed, for example by re-adjusting the working time measure from 40 to lesser number of hours to enable working time transfer to Saturday-Sunday. All rules relating to working hours and the allocation of working hours for holiday workers. for employees within KFO's contract area can be found in General Provisions §4 Working hours

Arbetsgivaralliansen Skola/Utbildning and TRIA (Waldorfskolor):

Teachers with ferieranställning have 194 working days. A teacher's working hours are applied to the 194 working days. The organization of working hours is stated in a working time schedule that is determined by the employer after consultation with a local trade union or concerned employee. Work schedule should be estimated at least 14 days before it should be applied. The employer must inform employees about changes in the working time schedule no later than 14 days in advance. However, such a message may be given less time in advance if the nature of the activity or events that could not have been foreseen gives rise to this.

In other words, the working time schedule can be changed at short notice.

All rules relating to working hours and the allocation of working hours for holiday ferie-employees within the Arbetsgivaralliansen's contract area are in §7 Working hours.

For semester-employees, the working time schedule can also be changed, for example by re-adjusting the working time measure from 40 to lesser number of hours to enable working time transfer to Saturday-Sunday. The employer must notify the employee of a change in the working time schedule no later than 14 days in advance. However, such a message may be given less time in advance if the nature of the activity or events that could not have been foreseen gives rise to this.

In other words, the working time schedule can be changed at short notice

All rules relating to working hours and the allocation of working hours for vacation employees within the Arbetsgivaralliansen's contract area are in §7 Working hours.

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Can the employer really require me to work on holidays?

Municipial sector:

There is nothing in the contract that will prevent this regardless of whether you have ”semesteranställning or ”ferieanställning”. However, you are entitled to compensation for work during inconvenient working hours. The regulations on daily and weekly rest must also be followed. So you should have at least 11 hours of continuous leave per day and 36 hours of continuous leave per week. In the municipal agreement there are opportunities to make exceptions to this in certain situations.

Almega and Idea:

Nothing prevents this but the regulations regarding daily and weekly rest must be followed. You must have at least 11 hours of continuous leave per day and 36 hours of continuous leave per week. In the Almega agreement exceptions are possible in certain situations, in such cases this must be agreed in a local collective agreement.

KFO:

There is nothing in the contract that will prevent this regardless of whether you have vacation or vacation service. The regulations on daily and weekly rest must also be followed. So you should have at least 11 hours of continuous leave per day and 36 hours of continuous leave per week. In the KFO agreement there are opportunities to make exceptions from weekly rest and night rest.

Arbetsgivaralliansen Skola/Utbildning and TRIA (Waldorfskolor):

There is nothing in the contract that will prevent this regardless of whether you have ferie- or semesteranställning. The regulations on daily and weekly rest must also be followed. So you should have at least 11 hours of continuous leave per day and 36 hours of continuous leave per week. The agreement provides opportunities to make local exceptions to weekly rest and night rest, which in such cases must be done by signing a local collective agreement.

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Can the employer shorten students' summer leave?

Municipial sector:

Yes, the regulation due to the corona-outbreak opens to change the length and placement of the academic year. For teachers, it is the agreement (collective agreement) that govern. The agreement's construction for holiday employees, means that the summer holidays must be at least 45 calendar days long. If the employer wishes to place work for these 45 days, the regulations on overtime work must be observed. The law of vacation gives the right to 4 weeks of continuous leave during the period June-August, which also constitutes a restriction on the opportunity to spend working days. Deviation from this requires negotiation with the relevant trade unions.

Almega and Idea:

Yes, the regulation regarding the corona-outbreak makes it possible to change the length and distribution of the school year. Steering documents and collective agreements are regulating this for teachers. The Vacation Act regulates the right of 4 weeks of continuous leave during the period June-August, which also regulate the possibility how to distribute work days. It is important to negotiate of the placement of the main holiday-period.

KFO:

Yes, the regulation due to the corona-outbreak opens to change the length and placement of the academic year. For teachers, it is the agreements that govern. 36-45 days depending on how many vacation days you have.

If the employer wishes to place work for these 36-45 days, the regulations on overtime work must be observed. The Vacation Act gives the right to 4 weeks of continuous leave during the period June-August, which also constitutes a restriction on the opportunity to spend working days. Deviation from this requires negotiation with the relevant trade unions.

Arbetsgivaralliansen Skola/Utbildning and TRIA (Waldorfskolor):

Yes, the regulation due to the corona-outbreak opens to change the length and placement of the academic year. For teachers, it is the agreements that govern. At Waldorf schools, the holiday is arranged according to the collective agreement for the first part of the summer holiday, 36-45 days depending on how many vacation days you have. If the employer wishes to place work for these 36-45 days, the regulations on overtime work must be observed. The Vacation Act gives the right to 4 weeks of continuous leave during the period June-August, which also constitutes a restriction on the opportunity to spend working days. Deviation from this requires negotiation with the relevant trade unions. For other schools with holiday employment, the holiday is placed according to the collective agreement to work-free periods calculated from the beginning of the holiday pay year. § 11 subsection 3: 1 and 3: 2.

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Can the employer require me to teach on the days normally used for teachers training/education?

Municipial sector:

Yes, if the students' academic year is extended, teaching can be placed these days regardless of whether you are employed with ”semestertjänst” or ”ferieanställning”. However, the employer must ensure that the further training planned for the teachers is posted at another time.

Almega and Idea:

Yes, if the students' school year is extended, teaching can be placed on these days. However, the employer must ensure that training planned for the teachers will be taken place another time. Although the time for training not is specified in the same way as in the municipal agreement, there is the same basic principle.

KFO:

Yes, if the students' academic year is extended, teaching can be placed these days regardless of whether you are employed with vacation or holiday service. However, the employer must ensure that the further training planned for the teachers is posted at another time.

Arbetsgivaralliansen Skola/Utbildning and TRIA (Waldorfskolor):

Overtime

For holiday workers, the total working time for each seven-day period may not exceed a maximum of 48 hours on average, including overtime during a calculation period of no more than twelve months. For holiday workers, the total working time during each seven-day period may amount to a maximum of 48 hours on average, including overtime during a calculation period of no more than six months.

Governing body

The governing body for municipal schools and preschools is the municipality. And for independent schools and preschools it is the school board. The governing bodies have the employer and work environment responsibilities. They make decisions on issues related to employer and work environment responsibility.

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Discussions with the government

The Swedish Teachers Union has raised several urgent issues to the government that need to be solved, among them work environment for teachers.
The requirements are:

  • Teachers cannot be expected to be responsible for both ordinary teaching and to implement distance solutions for the pupils.
  • We need clearer guidelines on how schools should be able to maintain the compensatory responsibility of students with special needs.
  • The requirements and expectations of the Swedish school cannot be as high as under normal conditions.
  • Investments are required to support distance education in upper secondary school.
  • Some principals reposition teachers and other school staff during the pandemic. This creates an unsustainable situation when schools are drained on staff and skills.
  • There are around 38,000 teachers working in other sectors and many are probably now out of work or notified. They should be possible to employ at school.
  • Pre-school children and pupils should be at home: For the safety of children, pupils and teachers, the Public Health Authority and the state need to reiterate their recommendations regularly.
  • The National Agency for Education must take responsibility to clarify the regulations from the Public Health Authority for the schools and the preschools.
  • Teacher students must be able to extend or advance the semesters in order to be able to carry out the VFU.
  • People in risk groups can not be compensated if they have to stay home - this should be solved.

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Meetings in The Swedish Teachers' Union

Only digital meetings in The Swedish Teachers' Union

All meetings, training and other activities in The Swedish Teachers´ Union during March and April, in the whole country, will be digital or postponed.

The Swedish Teachers´ Union does not visit any workplaces from friday 20 th march. All contacts will be by phone or digital meetings.

Keep yourself informed at lararforbundet.se/corona

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What should I do if I or a student get ill?

What should I do if I get ill?

If you have symptoms such as cough, difficulty breathing and fever, you should stay at home and contact the Care Guide 1177.
If you have questions about the virus but do not show any symptoms there is now a national telephone line, 113 13 that answers questions. If you feel healthy and do not show symptoms, you should contact your principal immediately to discuss the situation. The employer should make a risk assessment before returning to the workplace.

What should I do if a student gets ill?

The employer is obliged to plan for handling an outbreak in the workplace. Thus, these routines should include how the business should handle a situation with a student who is showing symptoms after being in an affected area. If these are missing, you should contact your principal immediately. Otherwise, follow the regular guidelines for illness.