Are you being asked to show a “Green Tick” to enter your child’s School? Here’s what you can do.
In November last year it came to our attention that Schools were implementing guidelines issued by the Department of Education and Training requiring them to exclude from school buildings (and from school gatherings generally, whether indoor or outdoor) any parents / carers who have not had 2 doses of a Covid-19 vaccination. These guidelines have now been updated to state that, as of 25 February 2022, the requirement will be 3 doses of a Covid-19 vaccination. This is despite the fact that the Pandemic (Open Premises) Order No. 3 2022 does not apply any mandatory vaccination requirements to schools.
We have written to the Department seeking to understand their reasoning and justification for these guidelines but we have so far been ignored. We will continue to seek that information from the Department through the Freedom of Information process. But in the meantime, the school term commenced this week and parents who are unwilling to share their vaccination status are sadly being excluded from accompanying their own children onto school premises.
So we have prepared a template letter, below, which sets out that Schools are potentially contravening State privacy laws and discrimination laws by enforcing vaccine segregation where this is not justified by legislative requirement. We recommend that all parents / carers write a letter along these lines to their School Principal.
In relation to any requirement that I/we show proof of vaccination in order to enter onto School premises, please note that:
- I/We do not consent to the School requesting, obtaining or collecting my/our private health information;
- There are no Pandemic Orders or other legislative requirements permitting the school to obtain this information without my/our consent or to discriminate against me/us for failing to provide that information. The Pandemic (Open Premises) Order No. 3 does not apply to schools. GUIDELINES ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING ARE NOT LAW;
- Requesting my/our private health information without my/our consent is an interference with my/our privacy in contravention of sections 18 and 21 (in particular Health Privacy Principle 1) of the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic);
- Any threat or intimidation by the School to obtain my/our consent to the provision of my/our private health information, including by preventing me/us from accompanying my/our child/ren at all times while on school premises may be an offence under the Health Records Act; and
- Preventing me/us from entering the School on the basis of a presumption that I/we may have a disease now or in the future may constitute discrimination under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic).
If the School persists in seeking proof of vaccination to enter any part of the School or any School gathering, I/we will be lodging complaints with the Health Complaints Commissioner and the Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission. Any threats or intimidation to obtain my/our consent will be referred to the Police.
If the exclusion continues, you can consider lodging the complaints referred to in the letter. Details are as follows:
- Health Complaints Commissioner, the entity established to address complaints of breaches of the Health Records Act www.hcc.vic.gov.au
- Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission, the entity established to address complaints about discrimination www.veohrc.vic.gov.au
Please also make sure you read all enrolment documents and forms you are asked to sign as you enrol your children in new schools for the start of the year. Signing any document which provides your consent to the collection by the School of YOUR own health information (enrolment forms would commonly contain consents in this regard in relation to each child’s medical information but not parents’) may entitle the School to ask for proof of vaccination.
SKIP Australia Inc
1 February 2022
© Skip Australia Inc
Information current as at the date of publication.
This document represents the views of SKIP Australia Inc and is not intended as legal advice.