Many parents want teachers to be forced to get vaccinated in order to be in the classroom with young children who cannot, but others think it would be too clumsy an approach.
Chris Hipkins, who is both Minister of Response to Covid-19 and Minister of Education, said that the Cabinet will discuss the issue on Monday and announce a decision shortly thereafter.
Janine Yuan is the mother of two children in Auckland: one of her children is 11 and the other four. She hopes her son can return to school normally and believes that vaccinating teachers is vital.
“It is not just to protect the students, it can also protect the teachers themselves because I think the students come from different families and no one knows if they have been vaccinated or not,” he said.
Lydia, another Auckland mother of three, did not want teachers to be forced to get vaccinated, but believes communication is important.
“We can analyze the situation and tell them what will happen if they decide to inject or not, but it is their own decision.”
The principal of Waterview Primary School in Auckland, Brett Skeen, said it is a decision for the government to make on whether it should be mandatory for teachers to be vaccinated, but greater clarity would help.
He said it appears that it is no longer a Covid elimination process, so the more people vaccinated, the better.
Pukekohe Middle School principal Gary Sweeney agreed that unvaccinated teachers can put children at risk and was also interested in seeing more clarity from the government.
“Whether you take that approach or go for a more voluntary approach, I’m kind of sitting on the fence a little bit about that, but if I were a parent, and I am, and I’m also an employer, I think it makes sense. get vaccinated as teachers. “
Auckland Primary Heads Association President Stephen Lethbridge is encouraging everyone in front of children to get vaccinated.
At the moment, those under the age of 12 cannot receive the vaccine, but Lethbridge said there are ways to mitigate the risks.
“Vaccination is an important thing. Ventilate, open doors and windows and classrooms to have good air flow, make sure there is separation and classes … those are the things we are waiting for from the ministry.”
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the government has been consulting with the education workforce and a decision is being made.
“If I were a teacher, I would certainly be making sure to get my first dose of the vaccine right now,” he said.
National Party leader Judith Collins said the government should convey MedSafe advice to as many teachers as quickly as possible.
“I prefer that people understand and accept vaccines instead of demanding them if possible.”
Hipkins said other options to be considered over the next week include more frequent testing for unvaccinated teachers and PPE requirements.