The Delta School District is implementing a proof of vaccination requirement for all employees.
At an in-camera meeting on Jan. 11, school board trustees directed the district to create, implement and amend as necessary a “Proof of Vaccination Regarding COVID-19 Operations Procedure” to help protect the health and safety of both staff and students.
According to a press release, the policy will be consistent with the provincial government’s K-12 Sector Guidelines for Vaccination Policies and the BC Public School Employers’ Association’s Template Operations Procedure. The district will consult with the appropriate employee representatives (including unions and joint health and safety committees), as well as parents, First Nations, Metis, Inuit and community partners as it develops the procedure.
The procedure will ensure the district complies with its obligation to accommodate individuals who are legally entitled to exemptions for medical reasons or under B.C.’s Human Rights Code or the Canadian Charter of Rights of Freedoms, while also ensuring district’s privacy obligations are met.
The district’s proof of vaccine requirement will not apply to students.
“We continue to hear from public health of the need for unvaccinated people to get immunized as soon as possible as vaccines reduce people’s risk of severe illness,” school board chair Val Windsor said in a press release. “We feel very strongly about protecting our students and staff. We believe anything we can do to reduce their risk of getting COVID, lessen the severity of their symptoms or reduce their time away from work or school is worth doing.
“After reviewing the many factors involved in this extremely sensitive and highly complex issue, the board of trustees believes introducing a proof of vaccination requirement is the right decision for public schools in Delta. We strongly urge any employees who have not yet been fully vaccinated to do so as soon as possible.”
Effective Monday (Jan. 17), district staff will be given a minimum of six weeks to disclose their vaccination status. Staff who are unvaccinated or who fail to disclose their vaccination status by the deadline will be required to undergo regular rapid testing in order to continue work, or else take an unpaid leave of absence.
“This timeframe is intended to give unvaccinated or partially vaccinated employees sufficient time to get vaccinated. It will also enable the district to set up a process for collecting vaccination status information from employees in a way that best protects their privacy and to develop a rapid testing program,” the press release states.
Further information will be available once the procedure has been finalized.