The vast majority of Whanganui schools are remaining tight-lipped on the scale of workforce shortages as a result of vaccination mandates, but some educators have spoke out about the effect the mandates will have on students' education.
Tuesday marked the official cut-off day for educators to receive their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, as per the Government's vaccination requirements.
From Tuesday onwards, any staff member or volunteer who has not received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine is not permitted on school or early childhood centre grounds.
The Chronicle contacted every school within the Whanganui district, asking for details around how many staff were stood down because of not being vaccinated before the deadline or having an exemption.
Just two schools provided details about exactly how many staff have been stood down after failing to be vaccinated.
Those were Whanganui Intermediate with one teacher, and Whanganui High School where four of its 150 total staff have been stood down.
Whanganui High School principal Martin McAllen said the four employees were support staff and stood down without pay.
Multiple schools declined to provide information, saying because of the size of the school, detailing how many staff had been stood down could lead to their identification.
Mosston School, Aranui Primary School, St Anthony's School, St Dominic's College, and Kakatahi School all responded to requests for information, but refused to provide a figure for how many staff have been stood down, citing privacy.
Whanganui Collegiate, Tawhero School and Aberfeldy School were the only schools that confirmed no staff had been stood down as a result of the mandate.
The remaining schools either said they would respond to the request at a later date, or did not respond at all.
Mandate 'will have a real impact' - principal
One school principal, who spoke to the Chronicle on the condition of anonymity, said their school had stood down one teacher who had refused to receive their first dose.
The principal, who did not want to be identified for risk of identifying the affected staff member, said the size of the school meant losing one teacher would have a noticeable impact on their staffing team.
"We are a small school, so standing down one of our teaching staff is difficult not only for the remaining staff, but also the students who are now without one of their teachers.
"As an employer, it's one of the toughest things, letting a staff member go."
Also covered under the mandates for the education sector are early childhood centres and kindergartens.
Whanganui early childhood education provider PAUA took to social media on Tuesday, saying they respected the decision of "a number of educators" who were farewelled after choosing not to be vaccinated.
"Our prayers and aroha go out to those who are having to change careers today because they have stood up for what they believe in," the post said.
"It is our hope and prayer that in the future, when the pandemic is over, the door may reopen for these caring people to again work with us in early childhood education."
In a statement to the Chronicle, a Ministry of Education spokesperson said it had been working with schools across Whanganui to ensure they had what they needed to remain open.
"All Whanganui schools and kura are open for learning and they know that their regional office team are available to support them. The regional staff have been speaking and/or meeting with school principals regularly to develop solutions if needed," the spokesperson said.
"The school boards and principals have been planning and preparing ahead of today to make sure teaching and learning continues and will be managing any employment matters as is appropriate."
The ministry confirmed it is not yet aware how many staff have been stood down. That information sits with individual Boards of Trustees as the direct employer.
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