There are some 2,500 teachers in the country who have refused the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Education Minister Dr Radzi Jidin.
They will not be allowed to interact with students face-to-face or be in classrooms when schools reopen on 3 October, Radzi assured.
He said that the ministry will hold an engagement session with them.
"However, the Ministry of Education (MOE) will issue assignment guidelines for these unvaccinated teachers, and at the same time, we will discuss with the Public Service Commission on actions that can be taken against these teachers who have not been vaccinated," he was quoted as saying by Harian Metro.
According to Radzi, the decision to not allow these teachers to conduct face-to-face classes or interact with students was taken to ensure that the school ecosystem is safe for students amidst the pandemic.
"We are taking this step to ensure that parents are confident that the school environment is safe for their children," Bernama quoted the Education Minister as telling reporters yesterday, 3 September.
Malaysiakini reported that schools are reopening in areas that are in Phase 2 of the National Recovery Plan (NRP) and excludes schools in Kedah, Selangor, Johor, Kuala Lumpur, and Putrajaya.
He said that while some teachers cannot be vaccinated due to health reasons, others have refused because they claim to have doubts
"We will examine each of the reasons given and ask State Education Department (JPN) or district education offices (PPD) to meet and explain to these teachers the need for vaccination because we want to ensure the entire school ecosystem is safe for our children," Berita Harian quoted the minister as saying.
Radzi, however, noted that the number of unvaccinated teachers represents a very small portion of the 400,000 teachers in Malaysia
According to the Education Minister, 96.7% of the 400,000 teachers in the country have received at least one vaccine dose while 85.26% are fully vaccinated after completing both their doses.
Similarly, Radzi said that 73.71% of school support staff including caterers, janitors, and security guards have completed their vaccinations, while 89.35% have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
The ministry has also issued a notice that those in the school area must be vaccinated, he added.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said that he will discuss with Radzi whether to make vaccination compulsory for teachers
According to Khairy, the vaccination mandate discussion for teachers will consider its legal implications.
"I have to discuss with [Radzi]. There are legal implications, so we have to discuss with [the] minister later on the sectoral mandate and whether it can be made compulsory," Bernama quoted him as saying.
In the US, an unvaccinated primary school teacher who took off their mask to read to students ended up infecting half of the classroom:
Earlier, Selangor Sultan warned that unvaccinated religious school teachers and officers in the state could be relieved of their duties:
A few days back, two siblings along with one of their friends lodged police reports in Ampang to refuse the COVID-19 vaccine: