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Covid-19: 200 teachers, ‘vaccinated or not’, keen to work for online school

A private school has received interest from 200 teachers, vaccinated or not, to be involved in an online course for students.

All education staff who have contact with children must now have had at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to keep their job.

Auckland private school Mt Hobson Academy, which teaches years 11 to 13, is seeking expressions of interest from teachers who “may look to work with us – vaccinated or not”.

The programme would be a “nationwide online school” for years 5 to 13, with local meetings and an academic adventure camp once per term.

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Education staff who work in contact with children must now have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

MARTIN DE RUYTER/Stuff

Education staff who work in contact with children must now have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Alwyn Poole of the Villa Education Trust previously said the vaccine mandate would leave some “very good teachers” out of work.

On Tuesday, he said the Mt Hobson Academy had heard from 200 teachers keen to work on the programme.

“Many of the emails from teachers are stunning in terms of the quality of the person and their desire to continue to contribute and, of course, provide for their families.

“The New Zealand education system is in a perilous situation with or without [a] response to Covid. We are working very hard to be a part of a great solution.”

Alwyn Poole of the Villa Education Trust said 200 unvaccinated teachers had expressed interest in working for Mt Hobson Academy’s online programme.

Lawrence Smith/Stuff

Alwyn Poole of the Villa Education Trust said 200 unvaccinated teachers had expressed interest in working for Mt Hobson Academy’s online programme.

Poole said the trust had contacted five education groups, including the Ministry of Education, asking to combine efforts to help unvaccinated teachers continue their careers. All were yet to respond.

The school will start taking enrolments and making appointments next week.

Student fees were “somewhat numbers dependent”, Poole said, however it is expected it would cost parents “well below” $10,000.

The school’s fees for in-person tuition are set at $23,000 per year.

Poole said his personal stance was that the mandate was “very heavy handed” and that more investigations should have been made into testing protocols.

However, the vaccine mandate has an amendment allowing Education Minister Chris Hipkins to make exceptions for schools where excluding unvaccinated staff would cause significant learning disruptions.

On Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said four schools had filed exemption applications to the vaccine mandate, and 11 schools had told the Government they were struggling because of staffing problems.

She would not detail which schools were struggling.



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