The School District 73 board has paused its proof of vaccination procedure due to ever-changing public health orders regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
At its regular board meeting on April 11, members agreed to pause the procedure meaning employees do not need to provide proof of vaccination or disclose their vaccination status, nor take a rapid test or provide test results of rapid tests. In addition, the pause means employees will not be approved for an extraordinary leave of absence.
The pause is pending further changes to public health orders, as well as information from BC Public School Employers’ Association.
“Our board made this decision based on provincial health guidance and advice from BCPSEA,” said board chair Heather Grieve. “We will monitor and respond to the evolving COVID-19 data and changes to public health directives.”
SD73 began the vaccination procedure to ensure the health and safety of employees and students from COVID-19 when hospitalizations with risks of serious health outcomes were related to low vaccination rates.
Though a new variant of coronavirus caused an spike in positive cases, hospitalizations and deaths peaked in January and levelled off in April, according to a statement from SD73.
Therefore, mandates such as proof of vaccination and safety measures in B.C. schools have since been relaxed.
“Our staff will continue to work together to follow provincial health and K to 12 sector safety measures,” said Superintendent Dr. Rhonda Nixon. “Everyone adjusts to change in different ways, and we will emphasize empathy and kindness during this shifting landscape of COVID-19.”