Staff and contractors in the Kootenay Lake school district will be required provide proof that they have been vaccinated for COVID-19, under a resolution passed by trustees this week.
All staff will be required to provide proof of their vaccination status by March 11, the district said in a news release.
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 unpaid leave of absence. The proof of vaccine requirement will not apply to students.
The district said its goal is to safeguard the health and safety of employees and students from COVID-19.
“Our board is tasked with making decisions that support our staff and our students to remain healthy so teachers can teach, and students can learn,” board chair Lenora Trenaman said in the release.
“We recognize that when adults get vaccinated, they protect their coworkers and students from COVID-19.”
The procedure will require SD8 staff and contractors to provide proof of vaccination unless they are legally entitled to accommodation for medical reasons or under BC’s Human Rights Code or the Canadian Charter of Rights of Freedoms.
The procedure will ensure the school district’s privacy obligations are met during the collection of employee information, the release said.
As part of this procedure, SD8 is required to keep a record of each staff member’s vaccination status. Anyone who does not provide that proof will be deemed to be unvaccinated.
“Employee representatives including unions and joint health and safety committees, as well as parents, Indigenous partners, and community partners will be consulted as this procedure is created and implemented,” said superintendent Trish Smillie.
The district said the deadline is intended to give unvaccinated or partially vaccinated employees enough time to get vaccinated. It will also let the district set up a process for collecting vaccination status information from employees in a way that protects their privacy.
The district said it will follow the framework and guidance developed by the British Columbia Public School Employers’ Association to ensure that the proof of vaccination requirement for employees is aligned with other school districts in the province.