Vaccine-resistant school staff could impact on students learning

Leah Panapa 04/11/2021

LISTEN: Teachers who are hesitant about getting vaccinated could find themselves out of work, while students might miss out on courses.

Principals are under enormous pressure as they manage several thousand school teachers and support staff who are resisting the Government's directive to get at least their first COVID-19 vaccination before November 15.

After this date, they won’t legally be allowed through the school gates, which in itself could be quite problematic.

President of Secondary Principals Association, Vaughan Couillault, says there are "a handful" of staff at every school who are vaccine-resistant.

"We're not talking 20 or 30 in every school, we're talking one, two, three or four," he told Magic Talk.

However, when you multiply those figures by the number of secondary schools across the country, Couillault says that's "a couple of thousand" staff who are still yet to comply with the public health order.

From November 16, as made "very clear" in the Government's public health order, unvaccinated teachers and support staff will not be allowed on school grounds.

That could spark a shortage of teaching staff. But Couillault is hopeful more teachers will choose to get the vaccine.

"We're hoping that number decreases rapidly over the next week or so as people make a decision to comply or not," he said.

"If we do have staff that are unable to work onsite, we will be working with them in earnest on the 16th to see what that means going forward."

Fewer teachers will result in larger class sizes and courses being cut, Couillault warns, which will impact students' learning and education.

Listen to the full interview with Vaughan Couillault above.

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