Rosa Woods / Stuff
Unvaccinated teachers continue to face discrimination more than two months after vaccination mandates were lifted for the education sector, a group representing them has said.
It’s been nearly three months since vaccination mandates were lifted in the education sector, and some schools and kindergartens are still not hiring unvaccinated teachers despite understaffing, according to a research group. support.
Teachers who refused to be vaccinated against Covid-19 were banned from entering school grounds after November 15, but the mandates were lifted by the government on April 5.
Despite this, some schools and kindergartens are still not hiring unvaccinated teachers, according to Rachael Mortimer, president of New Zealand Teachers Speaking out with Science, a group that has taken legal action to try to have the mandates.
In staff announcements in the Education Gazette, at least one school and one kindergarten say they will only hire vaccinated teachers.
* Teachers ‘still in limbo’ despite vaccination mandates lifted
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Mortimer said she’s been contacted by unvaccinated teachers who apply for jobs but don’t get interviews, despite those schools sending students home for short periods due to lack of education. teachers.
Teachers still turned away by schools when mandates were no longer in place were disheartening and heartbreaking, she said.
Calliope Veludos, a 24-year-old teacher who was not vaccinated due to a family history of heart problems, sent her CV to Wellington Schools after the mandates were lifted but received no response.
She refused to get angry at her predicament, but said it was stressful.
She decided to go into freelance consulting work and launched a website to connect educators with families.
Tanya Miller, a 30-year-old teacher who refused to be vaccinated, said several schools told her in late May, seven weeks after mandates were lifted, that they were still not hiring unvaccinated teachers.
She had since secured a teaching job but remained “raw and vulnerable” because of the experience.
The Department for Education’s head of operations and integration, Sean Teddy, said this month that school boards were the legal entity responsible for health and safety in schools.
Following the removal of the vaccination mandate for workers in the education sector, school boards have been asked to review their approach to managing the risk of infection and transmission of Covid-19 in schools and kura.
“As part of this, boards will need to consider whether any roles in their school still need to be filled by a worker or staff member vaccinated against Covid-19. »
Schools and kura needed to think about the additional health and safety measures needed to best protect their students and staff.
The more layers of protection in place, such as good hygiene practices, hand washing, ventilation, cleaning and disinfection, the harder it was for the virus to pass through.
“Supporting access to Covid-19 vaccinations for all eligible staff and students is one such measure,” Teddy said.