At this time we are all feeling very challenged with the COVID threats in our community... To assist us in being protected DOSCEL has given clear direction on the precautions that must be taken in our school. Following the advise of the Victorian Chief Health Officer, vaccination will be required for all school staff to protect children, employees and our communities from the spread of COVID-19. Mandatory vaccination requirements apply under the directions issued by the Victorian Chief Health Officer.
We have been advised of the following information, this will affect parents and volunteers at the school when we return back to more normal interaction.
All employees working in a DOSCEL school will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, unless a medical exemptions applies. This is an important measure to ensure DOSCEL school remain safe and are not sources of community transmission.
There are some questions that you have around this information to clarify who is included and what it means.
Who do the directions apply to?
The directions apply broadly and include any employees who are employed by an operator of an educational facility who work in a school, including:
- deputy pricipals
- secondary school business managers
- teachers, including emergency teachers and pre-service teachers
- support staff
- contractors who will or may be in close proximty to children, students or staff, wether or not engaged by DOSCEL including IT personnel, NDIS providers and auditors (but does not include delivery personnel)
- volunteers that attend the school and who work in close proximity to children, students or staff (including parent helpers)
- Students on placement at the school.
Does this apply to emergency teachers or other casual staff engaged via an agency?
Yes. The Victorian Chief Health Officerhas advised that vaccination will be required for everyone working in schools to protect children. This includes emergency teachers and other casual non-teaching staff.
Are there any exceptions?
A school employee may be an excepted person if they are able tp show that they meet the relevent exemption requirements under the Directions. The category of excepted person is only available in a very limited circumstances where a person has obtained certification from an authorised medical practitioner that they are unable, due to a medical contraindiction to receive a dose, or a further dose, of a COVIS-19 vaccine.
What are the permitted exceptions?
There are a very limited number of exemptions for medical reasons. A person who has a certification from a medical practitioner that the person is unable, due to a medical contraindiction to reveive a dose, or a further dose, of a COVID-19 vaccine, or due to an acute medical illness including where a person has been diagnosed with COVID-19, is able to work on-site in the same manner as a vaccinated person. A medical contraindiction is narrowly defines by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) as;
- anaphylaxis after a previous dose;
- anaphylaxis to any component of the vaccine, including polysorbate or polyethylene glycol;
- in relation to AstraZeneca: - history of cappilary leak synrome; or - thrombosis with thrombocytopenia occurring after a previous dose;
- in relation to Comirnaty (Pfizer) or Spikevax (Moderna): - myocaritis or pericarditis attributed to a previous dose of either Comirnaty or Spikevax ; or
- the occurence of any other serious adverse event that has: - been attributed to a previous dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by an experienced immunistaion provider or medical specialist )and not attributed to any other identifiable cause); and - been reported to State adverse event programs and/or the Therapeutic Goods Adminstration.
Which medical practioners are able to provide the certificate?
A medical practitioner who is eligible to give a certificate that a person has one of the defined medical contraindictions is limited to the following practitioners:
- A gerneral practice registrar on an approved 3GA training placement; or
- a public health physician; or
- an infectious disease physician; or
- a clinical immunologist; or
- a gynaecologist; or
- an obstetrician; or
- a general practitioner who is vocationally registered ; a general practitioner who is a fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP); or
- a general practitioner who is the fellow of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM)
There are penelties in the Directions for anyone giving false or misleading information or documentation.
Will schools be required to check external staff and contractors' vaccination status?
All DOSCEL workplaces, including schools, are required to collect, record and hold vaccination information about all school staff who are, or may be, scheduled to attend a school on or after the 18 October 2021.
School staff must provide vaccination information before 18 October 2021 that confirms their vaccination status to the principal or the principal's delegate. If a staff member has not received a COVID-19 vaccination, appropriate evidence of a vaccination booking to receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by 25 October 2021 or a medical exemption must be provided to the principal before 18 October 2021.
Staff, contractors or volunteers who are unable to meet the requirements for vaccination status before 18 October 2021 must not enter, or remain on, the school premises for the purpose of working from 18 October 2021.
What happens if an internal or external worker is not vaccinated?
Staff, contractors or volunteers who are unable to meet the requirements for vaccinations status before 18 October 2021 must not enter, or remain on, the schools premises for the purposes of working from 18 October 2021.
If a staff member, contractor or volunteer does not provide vaccination information, the school must treat the staff member, contractor or volunteer as if they are unvaccinated.
Regards Anne-Marie Robb
Principal Sacred Heart Morwell.