Today the Premier and Education Minister gave an update as to what the start of term 2 will look like in Victorian schools. The key point from this that affect your assets stocktakes are that if students can learn remotely from home, they must do so. At the moment being the second week of the school holidays, stocktakes have been going very smoothly as you would expect with no students in the school. However that will change on Wednesday 15th April when some students will return for term 2. This morning one of our stocktakers was sitting their car in the school car park as was the school's principal, and both were listening to the Premier's address. The principal commented that they did not know whether there would be 50 students turn up on the first day back, or it would be more like 200. For this reason, our strategy when term 2 comes is to take on each job in a case by case basis, and to be extremely agile as necessary. When we start back in term 2, our plan is to start in areas of the school with no students and little or no staff. The stocktaker will get an idea of the numbers of students and staff present, and form a plan of what rooms will be stocktaked when, in order to minimise being near anyone else. We are going to go by the stocktaker's judgement as to whether the school can be continued as normal, taking into account the numbers of students and staff, as well as the size of the school, etc. In the event that the stocktaker finds that there are too many students or staff present to get the job done, they will discuss options with the school to do parts of the stocktake after school finishes, or even on weekends etc. Aside from the first schools back for term 2, we will be contacting you before your stocktake to get a picture of what the average school day has looked like so far in term 2, and form a plan of attack that minimises the interactions the stocktaker will have with students and staff.
A point that was made during the Premier's address this morning was that social distancing will most likely not be possible in SDS schools. For this reason, our stocktakers feel that it would be best not to do SDS or special schools during this time while both students and staff are present in the school. However we certainly do not wish to exclude these schools, and will work with them to find suitable alternative arrangements for access outside of normal school hours, such as weekends or after school hours. All of our stocktakers have indicated that they are willing to alter their working hours when required, in order to get the work done safely.
During this time of remote learning, many pieces of school owned equipment will be off site at student's homes. This will be treated in the same way as we currently treat musical instruments that are with students during the stocktake. We will be consulting with the school about the items of equipment that were not sighted, and there will be an option for a school staff member to confirm that the asset is with a student for remote learning. For all such items, a record will be made saying that the item is still current but out with a student for remote learning, as well as the name of the school staff member confirming this.
All stocktake bookings should be considered tentative because this is a time when there are rapid changes happening. Neither the school or us can guarantee that the stocktake will go ahead, because government and/or DET policy may at any time change such that stocktakes can no longer go ahead, effective immediately. Obviously, we want to keep working in schools while it is safe and practical to do so. We would much rather be employing people and doing work, rather than becoming yet another business that needs to be supported by the government. For our planning, we request that you keep your existing stocktake booking on the understanding that it can be cancelled at any time, right up to the last minute. We are prepared for a sudden and immediate stop to business activities in schools, and would much prefer to do busines as usual while that is still possible. While you may be thinking of postponing your stocktake that is already booked in given that you are not sure of what the future holds, we ask that you keep the booking until it becomes clear either that the stocktake can go ahead, or needs to be postponed due to a change in policy. This is so much more preferable than postponing a stocktake when it turns out that it could have gone ahead after all with no problem. There are people's livelihoods at stake so we ask for your cooperation in this area and would be really grateful for you to give the stocktake the chance to go ahead even though we all understand that it may have to be postponed at any moment. For all of those stocktakes that can be done, it is one less headache that those schools will have when things start to return to normal. Finally as ever, we would like to say a huge thank you to all of the schools out there who have continued to support us during this time. Many of you have worked in with us, been flexible and open to suggestions. We have been able to keep every single one of our staff employed including our casuals and we have committed to do that for as long as we can, even if we do end up going through a period of no income. We can only do this because of the wonderful support that schools have shown us and for that we are eternally grateful. You are helping to keep this country going at the moment, so thank you.
Wes Stecher Director at A for Assets