Vaccination mandates announced for staff and volunteers in school settings

It has been announced that all staff and volunteers who work in a school or childcare setting will have to prove to be vaccinated (one dose) by December 10.

South Australia’s Education Minister John Gardner, Education Department Chief Executive Rick Persse and SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens addressed the South Australian public today with new COVID-19 vaccination mandates.

It has been announced that all staff and volunteers who work in a school or childcare setting will have to prove to be vaccinated by December 10 (first dose) with a plan in place for a second dose for early 2022.

Staff and volunteers in early, primary and secondary schools (including day care) in public and private sectors who do not have their first vaccination on December 11 or a vaccine exemption will need to take personal leave.

The mandate comes into force on the last day of the school term to ensure all staff and volunteers at SA schools, preschools and early childhood facilities are fully vaccinated before the start of the next school year.

The direction makes it a legal requirement for these people to be vaccinated.

The mandate is implemented for all schooling and education setting workforces for all staff and volunteers, whether they are paid or unpaid.

Those who are exempt from this mandate are students and children, those with a vaccination exemption, parents picking and dropping off, and incidental visitors like delivery drivers.

Masks will remain optional for adults and secondary students. If SA health advises that the circumstances have changed then the direction will follow this.

Minister John Gardner said going forward, they want to limit whole school shutdowns when an active covid case does occur. He said they want to reopen schools quickly – ideally within the next 1-2 days while working with SA Health.

In a situation where a student or staff member contracts COVID, people will need to go into directive quarantine. Using resources in the education department, there will be contact tracing.

Depending on the context of the situation, they will go through contact tracing and steps to get the school up and running again as soon as possible. The school will need to undergo cleaning before reopening.

An audit has been conducted on public schools to see if air conditioning needs replacing or if air purifiers are needed. These will be administered and replaced where necessary.

Students, teachers and staff will be required to quarantine only if it is absolutely necessary to avoid huge volumes of staff sent into quarantine if they do not need to.

It was also announced that a schoolies covid safe plan will be put in place to ensure students are able to celebrate a covid safe schoolies.

Minister John Gardner reiterated that they encourage people in SA to get vaccinated as soon as possible to protect themselves and others.

Stevens said mandating across certain sectors like hospitality are not necessary at this time. The directive on universities is unclear at this stage.

If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, please seek testing as soon as possible.

Find your nearest testing site at

More information, including exposure sites is available at

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