Kia ora koutou 27 October, 2021
I would like to let you all know that the Government has put into effect a COVID-19 Vaccination Order. I would like to use this communication to explain the order and also give the community a ‘heads up’ that the school will be in the media tomorrow as we have been asked about our stance as there are different viewpoints within our community about the vaccine mandate.
Firstly, I would like to communicate with whānau around the COVID-19 Vaccination Order that the Government put into effect on 25 October, 2021. I am aware that we are navigating unprecedented times and the effect of this can cause a lot of stress and uncertainty for people. Our aim is to treat all our school community with respect.
As such, I would like to outline the order and the impact that the order could have on our parents and whānau community. I am doing this as early as possible so people have time to consider their options and come and talk to me if they are unsure about their own situation.
This Vaccination Order makes COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for anyone working on site at a school who may come into contact with students. It applies to:
- All school staff (teachers, support and other onsite staff)
- Volunteers (including parent and family help)
- Anyone else engaged to provide onsite services
This means that this order will apply to our whānau who help out with activities and support during the day.
The order mandates that everyone in this situation must have had their first jab by November 15 and be fully vaccinated by January 1, 2022. If you don’t have your first jab by the end of day on November 15 then you are unable to volunteer with the school. You will still be able to drop your child off at school and meet with staff. You won’t be able to engage in activities that bring you into contact with groups of students.
I understand that this is going to cause upset for some families and students and I am happy to meet and go through the order with parents. Please feel free to come and talk to me. However, remember that the school has a legal requirement to follow the Public Health Legislation and is unable to grant exemptions.
We need to maintain a vaccine register for our parent helpers and volunteers – just as we maintain a register of police vetting. The Ministry of Health has outlined the information that we have to collect. This information will be stored according to the Privacy Act and there is a Privacy statement attached to the form.
The link to the form is COVID-19 Vaccination Registration Form
Secondly, the messages that I promoted with the media was that the health and safety of our students and community are our first priority and therefore we would follow the guidelines and regulations put in place by the Government and Ministry of Health. The advice we have at the moment is that exemptions to the mandate can only be provided by the Royal College of GPs, the Ministry of Health, and the Immunisation Advisory Centre. I also indicated that if someone has a concern about teachers using their position to influence learners around their vaccination decisions then we would follow our official complaints policy to investigate this concern.
Finally, I would like to reiterate that living in a time of pandemic and uncertainty as we navigate lockdowns, vaccine mandates, worries about our health and the health of our families, it is vital that we take the time to take care of one another and be kind.
Ngā mihi nui