Updated 6.50pm with school response

Teachers and staff at San Anton School have been told they must be fully vaccinated from the beginning of the next school year. 

An email, seen by Times of Malta, was sent to teachers and staff by the head of the school, Sandro Spiteri, saying it was "essential" for all staff to be vaccinated. 

Spiteri said it could help the independent school operate better, after the COVID-19 pandemic affected schooling in the previous year.

But in a statement sent later on Tuesday, the school clarified that it did not mean to imply that staff's employment "would be in any way impacted if they are not vaccinated" and reassured staff that it would not be keeping track of who has received a vaccine. 

The email was sent after Health Minister Chris Fearne announced that children aged between 12 and 15 will start receiving invitations to get vaccinated.  

"It is ESSENTIAL that all staff, both educational and administrative/managerial, are fully vaccinated and with their vaccination certificate in hand as from the beginning for next scholastic year," the email reads.

"This added to the possibility that our SS (senior school) students also being vaccinated, means that we might be able to operate in a better way next scholastic year - but at this point all options are still open." 

The school told those who could not be vaccinated because of medical issues to inform Human Resources to take the "necessary measures for your and your students' wellbeing next year."

The email did not address what happens to staff or teachers who do not want to take the vaccine. 

Malta has not made vaccine mandatory but sectors in other countries have made it a requirement for staff to get the jab.

In a reaction to the news, first reported by Lovin Malta, the Malta Union of Teachers insisted employers could not force their staff to be vaccinated.

It said it had contacted the Director of Employment and the Superintendent of Public Health. 

"The MUT is ready to name and shame any employer who does not adhere with legislation and who uses threatening tactics with educators," he said.

"It is shameful to hear that this is the way that an employer is thanking educators for going out of their way to pursue with teaching and learning against all odds during a pandemic."

Vaccination is currently open to children aged 12 to 15, and in a previous press conference Fearne said that around three out of four children who have received a vaccination appointment have already received an initial dose.

San Anton School: unvaccinated staff will not be impacted 

San Anton subsequently said that the principal's email had been misinterpreted. 

"It was never the intention, nor is it stated or implied in the communication, that staff’s employment would be in any way impacted if they are not vaccinated," the school said. 

"We do not have records on who is or is not vaccinated, nor do we intend to collect such records." 

The school said that it would continue to fully support staff "whatever the circumstances, as we have always done."  

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