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13 December, 2021

Department backflips on teacher relocations

BREAKING: The Department of Education has reversed its position on the relocation of unvaccinated teachers following today's front page story.

By Matt Nicholls

BREAKING: The Department of Education has reversed its position on the relocation of unvaccinated teachers following today's front page story.

In a statement, a Department spokesperson said: "All newly appointed staff and staff on relocation will be required to meet the Chief Health Officer direction prior to taking up duty or relocating.

"The Department of Education has not finalised staffing for 2022.

"The department and all Queensland state schools have contingency plans in place and are well prepared for any disruptions that may arise from the COVID-19 pandemic."

ORIGINAL STORY

TAXPAYERS will fund the costly relocation of unvaccinated teachers to Cape York over the school holidays, despite the fact they will be unable to work when students return in 2022.

All teachers must be vaccinated by January 23 and must have had their first dose by this Friday.

However, Cape York Weekly can report that at least one teacher will move to the region next year that is unvaccinated and has indicated they will refuse the jab.

Principals spent the last week of term scrambling for more information about new hires and are calling on the Department of Education to ensure that teachers are vaccinated before sending them to Cape York.

Not only are they concerned about being short-staffed in 2022, but are also worried about housing shortages.

However, according to sources, the Department has so far been uncooperative in its stance.

The Department of Education did not want to comment on individual staff cases, citing privacy, but said in a statement that it backed the government’s vaccination laws for teachers.

“Queensland has worked hard to remain COVID-safe since the pandemic began, and this new vaccination requirement is a further step to keep our staff and the students and children in our care, safe,” a spokesperson said.

“The Department of Education will implement the public health direction that requires staff to receive their first dose by December 17 and second dose by January 23.

“All staff were notified on December 9 that they will need to comply with the public health order unless they have a valid medical exemption.

“Staff absent from work must have a valid reason and provide appropriate evidence to support their absence, as is normal practice.

“Staffing levels will be determined when the vaccination status of all teachers is known.

“The Department of Education and all Queensland state schools have contingency plans in place and are well prepared for any disruptions that may arise from the pandemic.”

According to the Queensland Teachers’ Union, teachers and school staff, have until January 7 to provide the department with evidence that they have received at least the first dose.

“Failure to provide this evidence will result in the department commencing a process that will include school staff being asked to show cause as to why they should not be suspended without pay,” the union said.

“Should school staff not be able to provide a reasonable explanation, the department may suspend them without pay and commence disciplinary processes to examine why they should not have their employment terminated.”

It is unclear if those suspended teachers would be evicted from their state government housing in Cape York.

The cost to relocate teachers to the Cape can be as much as $50,000 depending on which community they are sent to.


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