Brown Burke against teacher compensation based on vaccination status
Opposition Spokesperson on Education Dr Angela Brown Burke says she is alarmed by an indication from the Government that there could be differences in compensation for teachers based on vaccination status.
At a press conference on Monday, Prime Andrew Holness said that teachers who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 will not receive the same treatment as their inoculated counterparts when schools reopen for face-to-face classes in September.
That might include COVID-19 testing and differentiated compensation.
Brown Burke says the Government must take a more democratic and inclusive approach to governance and avoid mandatory policies around vaccination of teachers where possible.
She is suggesting that the Government work toward creating meaningful partnerships with teachers and principals so that they may be better able to address their fears and concerns.
Brown Burke says that she too understands the fears and frustrations of the Government as COVID-19 numbers indicate a third wave of infections, which could negatively affect face-to-face learning, the economy, and daily life.
The high levels of hesitancy in the population to take the vaccine, likely driven by the rapid spread of misinformation and the fear of a worsening pandemic, are cause for concern, said the opposition spokesperson.
Brown Burke believes it would be wise for focus group discussions to be held alongside vaccine education workshops.
Additionally, she believes that “sustained dialogue with teachers and principals to identify and allay the concerns expressed will go a far way in increasing the number of vaccinated public school professionals.”
She says that Holness should refrain from any differentiated compensation for teachers because of vaccination status.
“It is our duty as elected officials to advocate for the protection of our citizens but we must do so in a way that takes into consideration their concerns, fears, and challenges.”
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