have always stated my support for a person’s choice – as I believe everyone should have that basic right (unless it impacts the greater good). It is timely we advise our community of our position on COVID risk management. These are strange times in which we live. I do not wish to be divisive but I do need to navigate the government directives with a steady compass and the best intentions to ensure we all travel safely.
We are back at Level 3 restrictions.
To operate as a registered and accredited school, although we are independent, we must abide by the Australian Education Act and the NSW State legislation, managed by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA).
All schools in NSW must be registered and/or accredited.
All schools must abide by the governments’ (federal and state) legislation.
As a non-government school, we are supported by The Association of Independent Schools. The AISNSW held a state-wide meeting of all principals/heads of independent schools. That meeting was attended by Kerry Chant of NSW Health, a representative of Minter Ellison (legal) and a representative of AON (schools’ insurer).
As the Conductor (principal), I am legally deemed the ‘responsible person’ and with that comes great responsibility.
After 8 November, only staff members who are double vaccinated – unless they submit a medical contraindication certificate – can teach or support the school onsite. This includes teachers, administration, aides, outdoor education staff, volunteers, tutors, drivers… anyone who interacts with our students. The emphasis is on our Work Health and Safety commitments, which extend beyond the Public Health Order. We have been advised of our responsibilities by the Association of Independent Schools.
All staff must submit evidence of their vaccination record to the Conductor, and the school will keep a record that evidence has been sighted.
Living School will review this position if the guidance by the Association of Independent Schools, NSW changes.
EVERY school in NSW is under the same compliance requirements.
All teachers have been fully informed and given the opportunity to determine their future at Living School.
I know this is an issue we will have to face with openness and respect. I take heart knowing our children are safe, engaged and happy learning at Living School with an amazing staff.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are you able to support staff until after 1 December, when the restrictions will be lifted?
As advised to us by the AISNSW, Minter Ellison and Aon insurers, the focus going forward will be on our WHS requirements – not the Public Health Order. Under our WHS commitments, a school is required to ensure the health and safety of staff and students. A reasonable measure in complying with health obligations is to ensure vaccinations are implemented as a control measure of the highest benefit.
Can the school – as an independent school – just ignore these directives?
All schools are under the legislation of the state and federal governments – with the Australian Education Act and the regulations authorised by the NSW Government and managed by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA). Schools that do not comply are not able to be registered nor accredited. The directives are the same for all schools in NSW.