12 November 2021
Dear Parents and Caregivers,
One of the primary concerns of the College is the health and safety of the whole school community. As part of this, the College has a duty of care to all students and staff to ensure that they are protected and safe from pandemics and notifiable diseases.
All staff, Board of Trustee members, and support people at Huanui College including teacher aides, contractors, parent volunteers, volunteers, coaches, invigilators, and itinerant teachers will be required to be vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine by Public Health Order. It is a mandatory requirement for all staff and support people to have at least one COVID-19 vaccination by Monday 15 November 2021 and to be fully vaccinated by 1 January 2022. Staff have until the end of day Monday 15 November 2021 to receive their first COVID-19 vaccination and therefore may be onsite at the College, despite the media reporting that unvaccinated staff may not be present at schools on Monday.
Not all education workers in New Zealand support this mandatory requirement. This is because they oppose being mandated to and/or are opposed to vaccination and/or are opposed to imposed requirements to continue their career choice. It is important that all viewpoints in the mandate and vaccination debate are respected and understood. We do not have to agree with any particular viewpoint but I believe we do need to show respect for the lived life of individuals and their views.
Huanui College is part of the mandate and vaccination debate. Like all schools across the country, the College has teachers that are questioning whether they can continue with a career in education. The College is engaged in a process with each of these teachers and this will take time for any particular outcome to be determined.
The College has designed a contingency plan should any of its staff elect to leave the education profession. Details of any changes to College staffing and its operation will be published as appropriate.
I appreciate that there is some anxiety and uncertainty regarding the impact of the mandated vaccination on the College, your children, and their learning. In a period of upheaval through lockdowns, the challenges of conducting external examinations in a Level 3 and term break environment, and with the legal requirements of the Public Health Order, the College is having to deal with an unprecedented challenge, the impact of which could have far-reaching effects for the College and education in general.
Our thinking is very much around mitigating against any effects compromising the College providing and improving our quality of education, and to look for opportunities to design creative, adaptable and effective solutions for the future.
One unfortunate corollary of the uncertainty over staffing is that the return of students in Year 11 and Year 12 who are currently on examination leave will have their return to the College delayed from 18 November to 22 November 2021. I apologise to them for this.