All teaching staff in NSW will be forced to get the Covid-19 jab or face losing their jobs, under the state government’s road map to get schools reopened.
The plan will enforce mandatory vaccination for all teaching staff by November 8, as schools begin a staggered return to face-to-face education from October 25.
A NSW Department of Education survey revealed almost 70 per cent of staff had received at least one dose of the vaccine, with 40 per cent double jabbed.
But one in ten workers said they were not booked in or planned to get immunised within the next month.
Vaccination will be mandatory for all NSW teaching staff from November 8 as schools begin a staged return to face-to-face learning from October 25 (pictured, stock image)
One Nation leader Mark Latham criticised the roadmap via Twitter while falsely claiming Covid is not high risk for children
In a webinar video seen by Daily Mail Australia, Secretary of the NSW Department of Education Georgina Harrison warned staff about the mandatory jab requirement.
‘It will mean under the public health order that they (teachers) are lawfully unable to work for us, and we will have to look at measures such as leave without pay until someone could get vaccinated, or possibly terminating their employment because it will be a requirement of employment,’ Ms Harrison said.
‘This is a really significant and serious step, it has not been taken lightly. Know that it has been taken on the very best health advice about what will protect our whole school community the best as we plan for return.’
The move has outraged One Nation leader Mark Latham, who took to Twitter in a fury on Saturday to criticise the vaccination mandate.
‘NSW Department of Education employs 100,000 people. Staff survey shows 10 per cent do not plan to be vaccinated,’ he wrote.
‘Under yesterday’s mandatory vaccination announcement up to 10,000 are to be sacked by November. How can this be the policy when Covid is not a high-risk illness for children?’
Since the Delta variant outbreak, 88 schools in NSW have been transmission sites of Covid-19.
President of the NSW Teachers Federation Angelo Gavrielatos, has supported the roadmap, saying he has been lobbying for prioritised vaccination since last year.
‘Since the beginning of the second wave, we have been making representations to the federal government every single day over the last two months to prioritise teachers,’ he told the Australian Financial Review.
According to a survey by the NSW Department of Education 10% of teachers do not plan to get vaccinated (pictured, patient receives Covid-19 jab)
Education staff also backed the new HSC extension start date which will give teachers an extra month of preparation before the exam period.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said HSC exams for year 12 students would be pushed back to November 9 – a day after mandatory vaccination is required for all staff on campuses.
Priority vaccinations will be scheduled for school campus staff from September 6.
The government is planning a staged return to school from October 25, when kindergarten and year one children return, years two, six and 11 return from November 1, and remaining year groups by November 8.
Year 12 students studying for their HSC exams will have full-time access to school campuses for study purposes from October 25.
If stay-at-home orders are lifted in some local government areas before then, all students in those LGAs can return to school.
The plan was cautiously welcomed by the public school teachers union.
Some education staff have backed the move after 88 NSW schools were Covid-19 sites of transmissions
Gladys Berejiklian said the government was working on plans to reopen certain industries in a ‘very staged and safe way’ at the 70 per cent mark.
‘Even if you open up with 20 cases or 30 cases or zero cases, Delta is going to creep in and out and cases will increase as the rate of freedom increases,’ she said on Friday.
‘It is really important for all of us to come to terms with that.’
This comes as NSW reported 1,035 new locally acquired Covid-19 cases and two deaths on Saturday.
Two women aged in their 70s and 80s died in Sydney hospitals overnight.
The younger woman, from the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District in Sydney’s west, had received both doses of the vaccine but had underlying health conditions, while the other was unvaccinated.
She died at Westmead Hospital.
The worrying surge in cases in NSW came after 156,165 people came forward to get vaccinated on Friday – the highest ever daily vaccination rate number.
There are now 778 patients with Covid being treated in hospital, 125 of those are in intensive care and 52 require ventilation.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard did provide some welcome good news – given the significant numbers of people getting the jab, Covid restrictions on weddings in NSW are set to be eased from 12:01am on Friday September 3.
The mandate is part of the NSW government’s roadmap to reopening the state when the vaccination rate hits 70 per cent (pictured, Sydneysiders exercising during lockdown)