Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala General Education Minister V Sivankutty has said that the entry of unvaccinated teaching and non-teaching staff to schools cannot be encouraged.
The minister toughened his stand, following the Education Department's report stating that 5,000 teachers and staff have not been vaccinated against COVID-19.
"We are not forcing them (staff), but have asked them to stay at home. In the guidelines issued just before the reopening of schools, we have made it very clear that all teaching and non-teaching staff must be inoculated," Sivankutty told reporters here.
"Though vaccination is a personal decision, one should not be a liability to the whole society," the minister added.
The government is apprehensive that teachers taking a stance against the vaccine might send out a wrong message. He said such the matter will be brought to the attention of the committee, which handles the COVID-19 protocol as it is a matter of safety of the children.
"If they are not able to take the vaccine due to health issues that should be medically certified. The health and safety of the over 40 lakh students at the schools are of paramount importance to the government. That is why guidelines were issued for the reopening of schools. Violation of this would not be accepted," the minister further stated.
"The state government and the education department cannot in any manner support their decision not to take vaccines. A majority of teachers are in support of the vaccination and have followed the procedure," Sivankutty added.
The minister appealed that everyone should be ready to cooperate with the government's decisions for the health and safety of the public.
The schools in the state were reopened on November 1 after being shut for more than a one-and-a-half years due to COVID pandemic.