Teachers vote to withdraw online teaching for three days – Searchlight
Recently added to the list of ‘frontline workers’ for whom a COVID19 vaccine is required, teachers are fighting back with three suggestions they want Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves and his cabinet to consider before they return to work. physical classrooms.
The Teachers Union of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVGTU) made the decision on October 4 in a virtual meeting to refrain from teaching online for one day this week and two next week for protest against the government’s vaccination policy.
At the meeting, which President Oswald Robinson said 183 Union members attended, a decision was also made to file an injunction against the government.
A day later, a letter was sent to the Prime Minister outlining some suggestions for consideration, the first being that the costs of tests carried out by teachers every two weeks be borne by the state.
“This suggestion is made in light of the fact that teachers have not received any salary increases for an extended period of time and will view the imposition of a payment for testing as an additional expense they cannot afford,” said the letter. signed by SVGTU President Oswald Robinson read.
The second suggestion is that “all teachers be required to present a negative PCR test when entering schools, because science has shown that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people can contract and transmit the corona virus” and the third; “That the State accept responsibility for any adverse effects or deaths resulting from the vaccination”.
It is the union’s intention that teachers stay away from online teaching on Wednesday October 6 and next week on Monday October 11 and Friday October 14.
Robinson, in an audio recording to teachers on October 6, said the union was committed to the education and well-being of the nation as it implemented several strategies throughout the pandemic to ensure that students engage in a meaningful way.
He noted that this commitment is also reflected in the many donations to students and teachers during and after the La Soufrière eruptions this year.
The president therefore called on teachers to unite and “stand resolutely to the cause”.
“Our commitment is essential at this time when some of our teachers are threatened with losing their jobs on October 15… we are defending the rights of all. This decision is to send a clear message to the appropriate authorities that we reject compulsory vaccination, ”said Robinson.
He also requested the cooperation of all members; vaccinated and unvaccinated in the “very important battle to defend our fundamental rights and freedoms”.
All school workers, including teachers, have recently been added to the list of employees considered frontline workers, who will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or be tested regularly at their expense, once the Public health (Public Bodies Special Measures) The rules come into force.
Gonsalves, who made the announcement during VC3’s Round Table Talk program on September 29, said that before the rules went into effect, teachers had a choice “to take the vaccine and be on the job. during this period, or to obtain other employment; and you wouldn’t be able to come to work in those frontline jobs unless you get the vaccine. You would have made a choice “.
When news broke this week of the union’s intention for teachers to abstain from online education for one day this week and two next week, the Prime Minister called on teachers to back down on the move and to continue to provide lessons to students.
And, while speaking to NBC radio on Wednesday morning, September 6, questioned the union’s reasoning for not teaching online.
“Do you want to punish the students? Do you want to hold the country to ransom?… What is so difficult about getting vaccinated? Teachers are, in fact, front line workers. We were looking to see if something could be done there, but the demand coming from teachers who are vaccinated and other teachers as well and from parents and what is happening in other parts of the world, the progressive countries, the teachers are vaccinated, ”he said, adding that he hoped teachers would voluntarily take the COVID-19 vaccine.
Although he did not give exact figures, the prime minister said the figures show that less than a third of teachers are vaccinated.
He compared it to neighboring Barbados, where more than 80 percent of teachers have been vaccinated there.
“Now if you have that number you cannot, under these circumstances, say that you should be given the choice between getting vaccinated or finding another job because of the large number of teachers who have gone to get vaccinated,” he said. declared Gonsalves. “Please take this na vaccine – for yourself, for the sake of your children, your students. You cannot abandon your students at a time like this.
You cannot compromise their safety, you cannot compromise their education.
The Prime Minister added: “I don’t know what could be going through the minds of the people who are responsible for reaching these kinds of conclusions.
What do you want to do? Is this politics? Is it just vanity? What is that? Because it simply has no rational basis.
“Teachers are not doing ‘a favor.’ It is not volunteering. People are paid to do this work. Please go get the vaccine, professors. I understand that more and more people are taking it. Let’s not go there and wait for the regulations to come into force. Are we… getting vaccinated, ”he said.
SVGTU members are expected to meet before October 18 to strategize on the way forward.