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You will no doubt be aware that the Covid-19 vaccines have been provisionally approved for children aged 5-12 years old. Now we move into 2022 there will be some xxxxxxxx Primary students receiving vaccines and quite likely a government / media campaign to support the vaccination program.
This no doubt will introduce our young children to discussions about medical decisions which are best kept within the family unit. Over the past two years as parents, our communities have tried to reduce our children’s exposure to the negative aspects of this pandemic. While our children are at school however, the responsibility lies with our schools to protect their students’ mental health and emotional wellbeing as much as possible.
In my social circle, high school students have been sharing with me their experiences of:
- Students experiencing peer pressure and discrimination from each other regarding vaccination status
- Teachers initiating classroom conversations with statements such as “So who got vaccinated on the weekend?”
- Teachers condoning conversations with and between students as to why they are / are not vaccinated.
I hope that the leadership team at xxxxxxx Primary would not want students to be involved in these types of environments and discussions.
Just as a teacher would never discuss which of their students is receiving treatment for cancer or is taking medication for ADHD, it is inappropriate for teachers to be discussing vaccination status with their students, condoning, or inviting conversations about confidential medical information in the classroom.
So I thought to start up a conversation, and perhaps if you can advise what directions xxxxxx Primary will be implementing in regards to these types of discussions in the classroom, and what guidelines will be provided to teachers navigating this subject.
I understand that outside the classroom children will discuss whatever they wish, and that all government schools receive direction from the Department of Education with Covid-19 guidelines. However, it would be helpful and reassuring, I believe, for our schools and families to have open and transparent conversations so that we as parents know what to expect inside the classroom and are working together in partnership.
These are difficult times for all families to navigate and of course as parents our priority is keeping life as normal as possible for our children and protecting them from these types of concerns. This is a great opportunity for xxxxxxx Primary to model and instil strong leadership values for its students in regards to equality and inclusion.
I look forward to hearing back,