Hundreds of thousands of higher education students will have to double vaccinate according to proposals from Te Bokenga.
The country’s 16 polytechs have been told to investigate who, if anyone, will need to be vaccinated when teaching resumes next year.
Most polytechs are still consulting on the matter, but Te Pūkenga – the Crown entity that holds the overall management – said anyone visiting their sites “should be fully vaccinated unless a local risk assessment specifies otherwise”.
Its “virtual position” on immunization will include learners (of whom there are about 280,000 on its books), employees, contractors and visitors of all “network affiliates”. He did not say when the requirement would become effective.
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To date, four out of 16 polytechnics and technology institutes have introduced vaccine mandates. They are Wintec in Waikato, Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, Toi Ohomai (which has campuses in Waikato and the Bay of Plenty), and Otago Polytechnic.
The Ara Institute in Canterbury will publish its policy next week, but an email I have seen Things “In the event that the decision is made to request vaccination, it is proposed that this take effect on February 1, 2022, in time for the start of the first semester,” he says.
The email says anyone who has not been vaccinated will need to receive their first dose by January 10 and the second dose by January 31.
A spokeswoman declined to say what would happen to ARA students or staff who had not been vaccinated, if the mandate was carried out.
Although the 16 polytechs have their own senior management teams, Te Pūkenga has national strategic control.
Te Pūkenga Chairman Murray Strong said they took a “risk-based approach” because it allowed for a balance between “inclusion, equity, and our health and safety commitments.”
“It also recognizes that some of the affiliates may have exceptional circumstances that need different requirements to meet the needs of their communities, Iwi’s aspirations and the requirements of the traffic light system for the Covid-19 protection framework,” he said.
A Te Pkenga spokeswoman said Te Pūkenga has reached its default position on the advice of the Ministry of Health that vaccination is the most effective way to reduce transmission of Covid-19 and the damage the virus has caused.
It also follows the Ministry of Education’s advice that all tertiary education providers be ready to switch to red light mode at short notice.
In the red, she said, a My Vaccine Pass would be needed for people on campus.
“In order to transition as smoothly as possible to teaching in person at Red, people and learners from the Te Pūkenga network must be vaccinated before changing settings.”