For immediate release

WA could face the very real possibility of a teacher shortage in 2022 should the State Government choose to mandate Covid 19 vaccination for school staff, according to the Principals Federation of Western Australia.

President Bevan Ripp said that while PFWA supports the vaccination program and the Department of Education’s strategy to encourage school staff to become vaccinated as a means to combat COVID-19, mandatory vaccinations raised some very serious questions.

“Before making any kind of decision on this matter, the Chief Health Officer needs to consider how it is going to impact schools and ultimately Principals and Deputies who will be tasked with policing the mandate,” Mr Ripp said.

“WA already has a problem with teacher supply, and even if only a small percentage of staff refuse to vaccinate, Principals will be confronted with the possibility at the beginning of 2022 of not being able to guarantee there will be a teacher in front of every class,” Mr Ripp said.

“This is a problem that is further exacerbated in regional and remote WA, where it is harder to attract staff and teachers.”

Mr Ripp also questioned how effective mandating vaccinations would be if students and visitors to schools were not vaccinated.

“Schools are very public places, and aside from students and staff, on any given day, parents, other family and community members, contractors and visitors all frequent the site,” he said.

“How will the mandatory vaccination of staff make school sites safe if there is no guarantee that other personnel on site are vaccinated as well?”

Mr Ripp said the onus was on the Chief Health Officer to take these matters into consideration before making a decision which could put even more pressure on under resourced Principals and Deputies.


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