Unvaccinated public school teachers can return to work in every state and territory, as stood-down Tasmanian teachers who did not share their vaccination status are allowed back from today. Many states scrapped vaccine mandates before the beginning of term three this year, but the move has had "zero impact" on the sector's staffing crisis, teachers union representatives told ACM. Australian Education Union NT branch secretary Adam Lampe said the removal of mandates made no difference to the struggling sector. "It had zero impact - 98 per cent of teachers got vaccinated and the overwhelming majority of our members supported the mandate," he said. "What we really need is better pay and conditions, and something to encourage people to stay in the Northern Territory." Queensland Teachers Union President Cresta Richardson said teachers and school leaders had among the highest rates of vaccination uptake in any professional workforce. But Ms Richardson said it was important to note that the teacher shortage crisis had nothing to do with COVID-19 or mandates. "Previous federal government inaction on modern education policy for close to 10 years is the clear underlying cause of our national teacher shortage, not any issues surrounding the pandemic," she said. Australian Education Union ACT branch president Angela Burroughs said the impact of unvaccinated teachers returning to work had been negligible, due to the high level of vaccination coverage in the ACT population. The ACT dropped vaccine mandates for teachers in May, and Ms Burroughs said AEU was consulted on the decision and met regularly with Education Department representatives to discuss COVID safety matters. She said the real issue was bringing more people into teaching and retaining the teachers they had. Read more: Vaccine mandates were lifted in NSW on August 1, and NSW Department of Education Secretary Georgina Harrisson said in June the change would mean an additional 965 'active' casual staff could return to working at school sites. Despite this, a 30 per cent increase in the rate of sick leave among teaching staff in the first six months of the year meant the change would have little impact on staffing pressure, Ms Harrisson said. She said there were 145,491 more teacher sick days this year compared to the same period in 2019. Meanwhile, in South Australia unvaccinated teachers are permitted to work although they are still required to take a RAT test every day and wear a mask while working indoors.