Teachers in home isolation “putting huge pressure on schools”

There’s already a shortage of teachers in New Zealand, so any additional ‘outage’ of teaching staff, due to vaccine mandates or home isolation, is putting extreme pressure on schools. 

The Government has imposed strict home-isolation rules for close-contacts of Covid cases, meaning that many teachers will be forced to stay home and self-isolate in the coming months. Teachers could be off work for 10 days or more. It seems like the Government has simply not considered the downstream consequences of their home isolation rules, and the lack of readily-available rapid antigen tests. 

Hamilton Christian School’s entire Year 7 is currently off due to COVID. They’re all considered close contacts of a case who attended last week. That means just one student with Covid has resulted in 80 other students plus 60 siblings and teachers all now isolating at home. This is not practical in the long run. 

Several other schools in Hamilton and Hawkes Bay are also having to send teachers and pupils home to self-isolate. Unfortunately this kind of scenario will be repeated many times in schools all over New Zealand, especially during the winter months. 

The Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) is calling it the “new normal”, which it says is putting huge pressure on schools already this year.

“It’s impossible to be teaching both face-to-face and having isolating at home the workload of that is tremendous and everyone loses with it,”

PPTA President Melanie Webber

The principal of  Hamilton Christian School is calling on the Ministry of Health to be more flexible, allowing schools to bring back unvaccinated teachers to help with online learning. We think this would be a great initiative that both helps under-resourced schools, while at the same time giving much-needed work to unvaccinated teachers who lost their jobs under the Government’s “no jab, no job” mandate. 

Please contact us if you have any relevant stories to share, regarding vaccine mandates or challenges with home isolation.

Further reading here.

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