Teacher assistants, Auslan assistants and education support specialists were given ten days to comply with a COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
A memo was sent to 2900 impacted staff on November 10 and apologised for the "short notice" of the directive that required them to be sufficiently vaccinated by November 20, 2021, or have booked in for their first vaccine by December 1.
According to the memo, staff who did not comply would be stood down without pay, however, it also stated that the vaccine mandate would only apply to teacher assistants or support specialists who worked in schools with NDIS participants that are eligible to receive high-intensity supports.
Australian Education Union Tasmania president David Genford said he believed there were only 11 schools across Tasmania that did not meet this criteria.
"So you're looking at around 190 schools across the board," he said.
Mr Genford said most teacher assistants and education support specialists he had spoken with were understanding of the mandate, or had opted to get vaccinated already.
"I think the type of people who become teacher assistants are working with students with a disability because they care about them and they want to help them, and [don't want to] put them at risk by not being vaccinated," he said.
However, he said that there was some confusion about the mandate not extending to other teaching staff working with students with a disability, regardless of their level of contact with the students.
"There are three support schools in the state, Southern, Northern and North-West, and they deal with students with high needs and disabilities purely, they don't have other students," Mr Genford said.
"And those teachers are very involved and have a lot of close contact, but do not have to be vaccinated.
"So, there definitely has been feedback that there was a bit of confusion and frustration, about 'why do I have to get the vaccine when teachers who are also dealing with these students don't have to?"
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The memo read that teachers and other staff in schools were not included in the directive, as while they may provide high-intensity supports, it was not a primary function in their statement of duties.
Disability advocate and consultant Jane Wardlaw said she knew parents of children with a disability who had made the decision to homeschool out of fear of a COVID-19 outbreak in the classroom, and wanted vaccines to be mandatory for all staff.
"Children need social inclusion, it's actually a right underneath the United Nation's Convention on the Right's of people with a disability, that we should be meaningfully included in society," Ms Wardlaw said.
"So, we should be able to send children to school knowing that every safety precaution has taken place."
A Department of Education spokesperson said they would continue to support staff and schools to meet the required date of November 20.
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