The Delta Board of Education has directed the school district to create, implement and amend as necessary, a proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
The directive, made at a special in-camera meeting of the trustees Tuesday night, is to help protect the health and safety of both staff and students.
According to the school district:
- The procedure will be consistent with the K-12 Sector Guidelines for Vaccination Policies and the BCPSEA Template Operations Procedure
- Appropriate employee representatives (including unions and joint health and safety committees), and parent, First Nations, Metis, Inuit, and community partners will be consulted
- The procedure will ensure the school district complies with its obligation to accommodate individuals who are legally entitled to accommodation for medical reasons or under the Human Rights Code of British Columbia or Canadian Charter of Rights of Freedoms
- The procedure will ensure the school district’s privacy obligations are met
- That the finalized procedure and communication plan be implemented as soon as possible.
- The school district will pay for all of the rapid testing required, which will be done at a time and location to be determined by the school district.
“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,” said school board chair Val Windsor. “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 take an Extraordinary Leave Of Absence (unpaid). The proof of vaccine requirement will not apply to students.
The school district says 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 school district says further information will be available once the procedure has been finalized.
This decision follows weeks of research and consultation by the school district into the viability of a vaccine mandate.
On Oct. 13, 2021, the Delta Board of Education directed the school district to begin work immediately on a safety policy and/or procedure, to provide, amongst other safety measures, the viability of mandatory vaccinations against SARS-CoV-2, for all staff.