Latvian Ministry of Education doubts potential loss of teachers; trade union points out existing shortage

According to Estimates from Latvia’s Ministry of Education and Science, the new requirement for compulsory vaccination may result in a small number of teachers leaving their jobs, as journalists were told by the ministry’s deputy state secretary and Sports Department director Edgars Severs at a press conference on 30 September.
Severs reminds that vaccination coverage in the education sector is about 75%. He believes data shows most people working in the industry are protected from Covid-19.
There is no accurate data on the number of potential resignations from workers of the education sector who are not vaccinated or have no plans of doing it.
«We agree with the general belief that vaccination is the only and safest may of dealing with this pandemic and return to normal life like before the pandemic,» said Severs.
Latvian Trade Union of Educators and Researchers (LIZDA), meanwhile, points to the existing shortage of teachers in the education sector. To avoid the increase of vacant jobs in the education sector, LIZDA reminds it is necessary to continue discussions about proposals on motivating non-vaccinated people to get vaccinated. The trade union believes the compulsory vaccination will increase the risk of teachers leaving, which will later cause more load for the already overloaded sector.
After 15 November people employed in the education sector will be able to continue working normally only with a valid Covid-19 vaccination or recovery certificate, as decided by the Cabinet of Ministers on 28 September.
Until 15 November, aside from universities and colleges, and child care will remain open to persons who tested negative for Covid-19 using an RNA test in the last 48 hours, tested negative using an antigen test or routine screening test.
As for colleges and universities – teaching there is permitted only in an epidemiologically safe environment. This means teachers and students are required to have a valid Covid-19 certificate.
Until mid-November education institutions will continue organizing testing of their employees in cooperation with laboratories performing Covid-19 tests.
At the same time, the government has declared vaccination compulsory for select professions, education sector workers included.
Education workers who have commenced their vaccination process using a vaccine registered with the European Medicines Agency but have no yet completed it will be provided with state-funded screening until 15 November. Non-vaccinated workers will have to cover the costs of screening on their own between 11 October – 15 November.
Although the government decided to pass the new rules, the Minister of Education and Science Anita Muižniece proposed for the government to not set a specific date from which teachers and students will require a valid Covid-19 certificate in order to participate in the teaching process.
At the same time, the Ministry of Welfare, Ministry of Justice and State Chancellery have 13 days to develop guidelines for employers to follow in situations if they have non-vaccinated employees.