ZB

Kerre McIvor: How are teachers not considered worthy of basic protection?

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Fri, 18 Feb 2022, 12:41pm
(Photo / File)
(Photo / File)

Kerre McIvor: How are teachers not considered worthy of basic protection?

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Fri, 18 Feb 2022, 12:41pm

Now I know that there are a lot of people who think that this Government has done and is doing a good job - look at the polls. I would ask them to explain this to me then, how is it that this Government can say that teachers are not critical workers? 

Principals are astonished and furious that schools won't have access to rapid antigen tests to help protect their staff and keep classrooms open during the Omicron outbreak. 

They want, everybody wants, parents want and the community wants teachers to be included in an exemption scheme that lets some critical workers bypass close contact isolation requirements if they return daily negative rapid antigen tests. 

How was it that teachers are not included in that list? Chris Hipkins, the Covid-19 Minister and the Education Minister said at the start of the year he wanted stability and full attendance at schools to be the norm. 

With disruptive measures like alternating days at school, only used on a local level in case of an outbreak, Hipkins said he was hoping that getting kids back into school would help remedy issues like the digital divide, which he said had been made worse by Covid. 

And teachers whom he acknowledged were stressed and tired, had found hybrid learning was almost impossible. That was in an interview with the New Zealand Herald, so the Education Minister is very clear that getting children and teachers back together in classrooms is vitally important. 

So how the hell can the Government explain why teachers aren't considered worthy of the basic protection? Right?