Nearly 5,000 NSW teachers risk being sidelined under threatening COVID vaccine mandate

Ms Cachia said it was not surprising that many left it to the last minute given the international experience and she expected many teachers would certify their vaccination status in the coming days.

Read more

Picture for read more article 'Australians stranded abroad welcome TGA's new COVID-19 vaccine approvals'

Nearly 74,000 teachers are registered as fully vaccinated.

One Nation MP Mark Latham questioned why rapid antigen tests could not be used for unvaccinated teachers instead of suspending them.

“Rapid antigen testing certainly plays a role … but it’s not in place of vaccination,” Education Secretary Sarah Mitchell said Tuesday.

Vaccination of teachers was the best way to keep students and teachers safe, especially when children under the age of 12 were not eligible for the plug, she said.

Department secretary Georgina Harrisson said rapid antigen testing would not protect a teacher from becoming infected.

“Even if an employee took a quick antigen test and was not positive for COVID, they would be in a classroom where there could be a child who put them at risk,” she said.

Read more

Image to read more article 'Freedoms quickly tracked for fully vaccinated in NSW, but unvaccinated people will have to wait'

Rapid antigen testing for schools is being tested in the border town of Albury, which has an outbreak.

It is being used as surveillance in the community to ensure that the outbreak is contained and to ensure that there is no transfer in the schools, Ms Harrisson said.

The faster, less reliable form of testing can also be used to limit the time those exposed to the virus need to isolate themselves.

The department contracts about 30 short-term employees to act as investigators to investigate teachers’ non-compliance with vaccine requirements when mandated.

Ms Cachia said the powerful workforce should help complete surveys in a timely manner to get teachers back into the classroom if the problem could be solved.

“We want to be able to provide certainty to our school leaders about staffing,” she said.

Read more

Image to read more article 'How schools in Australia make classrooms COVID-safe for returning students'

“What we’re trying to do is make sure we have a fair and equitable process for our staff before making hiring decisions,” Harrisson said.

“That’s why we’re increasing our capacity to do that. We want to make sure … we hear every single case appropriately.”

Meanwhile, changes to the NSW Government’s reopening roadmap will mean that further activities return to schools from next Monday.

Assemblies and presentations will be allowed in year groups outdoors, dancing and excursions are back, and music can be played if students can wear masks.

Fully vaccinated volunteers and providers can be on site to support school operations or help in the tuck shop or uniform shop.

Leave a Comment