Mandatory Vaccinations (COVID-19)

Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccinations for Education Workforce

From 1 January 2022, schools, early learning services and education providers will need to ensure only vaccinated staff and support personnel have contact with children and students.

This breadth of coverage is intended to afford the greatest possible protection to our tamariki, ourselves, and communities.

All staff members who work in early learning services, schools and kura will be required to have a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by 15 November 2021 and be fully vaccinated by 1 January 2022.  

Schools will also need to maintain a COVID-19 vaccination register.

TeachNZ scholarship applicants will need to confirm that they can meet this expectation in order to take up the scholarship.

FAQ’s

What if a scholarship recipient currently undertaking the bonding requirements of their TeachNZ scholarship is not able to be vaccinated due to circumstances outside of their control?

We will be working with unions to consider the implications for those people who cannot be vaccinated. Our objective will be to retain as many people in employment while ensuring public health.

What if a scholarship recipient currently undertaking the bonding requirements of their TeachNZ scholarship chooses not to be vaccinated?

In order to keep this scholarship, you need to meet the study and teaching requirements outlined in the terms and conditions. Failure to meet the terms and conditions of the scholarship will mean that you are liable to repay all or a proportion of the scholarship fees and allowances paid.

What processes are in place to protect the privacy of my vaccination status within my school/kura’s COVID-19 vaccination register?

Schools and kura will record each person’s testing status in a secure and confidential manner in line with their usual obligations under the Privacy Act. Given the sensitivity of the information being collected, schools and kura should ensure that unauthorised access to the information is not able to occur.

What documentation do I need to provide for proof of my vaccination status?

Schools and kura may accept any proof which assures them that the staff member is fully vaccinated. This may be an email, immunisation card, or SMS that the staff member has received from their vaccine or medical provider, the Book My Vaccine website or the My COVID Record website.

How does this compare to what’s happening overseas?

A number of jurisdictions overseas have already adopted mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations in education settings, such as Victoria, New South Wales, Washington, the Northern Territory and New York City:

  • Victoria requires that all staff in government and non-government schools and all types of early childhood and care settings to be vaccinated against COVID-19. 
  • Washington requires all teachers and school personnel including, sports coaches, bus drivers and volunteers to be fully vaccinated as a condition of their employment.
  • In New South Wales all people working at a school or early education and care facility must be vaccinated. This includes, teachers, support staff, contractors, volunteers and students on student placement.
  • The Northern Territory mandates vaccinations for workers in high-risk settings which includes those who work (or come into contact with) people who cannot get vaccinated and includes all teachers and child-care workers. 
  • New York City requires educators alongside other school staff (including custodians, school lunch helpers and safety agents) in public schools to be vaccinated.

What can we say about vaccinations while in schools?

We’ve had a number of teaching staff and principals asking what they can (and cannot) say to their school community about vaccination.

School leaders and teachers have a strong influence on learners and their understanding of the world because of the trusted position they hold.

Public health advice cannot be clearer: vaccinations are the most significant tool we have to reduce the risk of serious illness in our communities. If most of us are vaccinated, we can also reduce the risk of outbreaks which can lead to lockdowns and put our health system under pressure.

As members of the public service, school leaders and school staff should promote to learners' public health advice about the need for vaccinations, but they should not put pressure on individuals to get vaccinated or not get vaccinated.  

Staff are welcome to share their own vaccination status at any time, however employers cannot do so without the individual’s permission. 

Useful links

COVID-19 requirements for schools will be kept up to date in the Ministry Bulletins:

For general information about the governments COVID-19 response:

https://covid19.govt.nz/

For information about mandatory vaccinations for workers:

https://covid19.govt.nz/covid-19-vaccines/vaccinations-and-work/mandatory-vaccinations-for-workers/

To view the “Mandatory vaccination for two workforces” release by the Hon Chris Hipkins:

https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/mandatory-vaccination-two-workforces

 

New Zealand Teachers Council New Zealand Education Gazette New Zealand Qualifications Authority Immigration New Zealand