Teachers at Australian School Take Leave Over Vaccine Mandate

By Caden Pearson
Caden Pearson
Caden Pearson
Caden Pearson is a reporter based in Australia, with a background in screenwriting and documentary. Contact him at caden.pearson@epochtimes.com.au
December 2, 2021 Updated: December 2, 2021

The Queensland Education Department (QED) has confirmed that Glenwood State School is making arrangements to ensure the continuity of learning for its students after reports that the majority of its teachers have taken leave from their jobs ahead of the state’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

It is alleged that four teachers in a school of only five full-time teachers, suddenly went on leave with only one week before the end of the term for the year.

“All staff will need to comply with the public health order unless they have a valid medical exemption,” a QED spokesperson said in a statement.

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

This comes ahead of the Queensland government’s mandated requirement that all staff at any public or private school in the state receive their first vaccine dose by Dec. 17, and have the second jab by Jan. 22, 2022, before the start of the new school term.

“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,” the QED spokesperson said.

When announcing the mandate on Nov. 29, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the mandate will help protect vulnerable Queenslanders, such as children under 12 who can’t get the jab, who would be at a high risk of coming into contact with someone who has the virus.

“If you can’t be vaccinated, we want to make sure those around you are vaccinated. If you are in a high-risk group we also want to make sure those around you are vaccinated,” she said.

Glenwood State School, which is around half an hour away from the Queensland city of Gympie, has 78 enrolled students and five full-time teachers. The school, which teaches from Prep to Year 6, also has five full-time non-teaching staff, and six part-time non-teaching staff.

The school’s principal did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Courier Mail reported the comments of Marie Shing, the mother of a Glenwood State School student about to complete Year 6, who said she heard the news from another parent via one of the teachers.

“All four of them have agreed that they’re standing up for their rights,” she said.

Shing reportedly said that most of the parents supported the teacher’s decision.

“I’ve told them the community is proud of them and we stand behind them,” she said.

Caden Pearson is a reporter based in Australia, with a background in screenwriting and documentary. Contact him at caden.pearson@epochtimes.com.au