The current global pandemic has created an inherent risk to learners if teachers are not fully vaccinated, leading the Government to issue Public Health Orders that teachers, principals, and professional leaders are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID 19 from 1 January 2022.

The Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand encourages all teachers, principals, and professional leaders to protect themselves and learners against Covid-19 by getting fully vaccinated.

Teachers are not breaching the Code | Ngā Tikanga Matatika by choosing not to be vaccinated. However, the Code | Ngā Tikanga Matatika sets high standards of ethical behaviour for teachers including in relation to “using their position of trust, care, authority and influence over learners”. This means teachers have a responsibility to manage their personal beliefs and assumptions, particularly when engaging with learners and when making statements in public.

The Council has well established processes for managing any possible serious misconduct. If anyone has concerns about a teacher’s actions in relation to the Code they should report this to that teacher’s employer. Schools and ECE services are well aware of their reporting obligations to the Teaching Council in situations where they consider there may have been serious misconduct.

As choosing not to be vaccinated remains a personal health decision, the Council has no mandate or authority to use any conduct, competence, or disciplinary processes to investigate. Additionally, vaccination status does not impact on the ability to register as a teacher or be issued with or renew a practising certificate.

The Council would encourage any teacher who has questions or concerns about vaccination, to seek advice from their employer, union, and health practitioner.