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VICTORIA, B.C. – Premier Horgan answered questions at a media availability on Thursday afternoon, explaining that individual school districts  — all 60 of them — may be on their own to make a decision on mandatory vaccination in schools.

When asked why the Province was leaving this decision up to individual school districts and not making a Provincial Health Order, Horgan explained that provincial mandates are a last resort.

“We need to make sure that the province school districts, which are duly elected and have authority and responsibility when it comes to their staff, are all having a say in how we proceed,” said Horgan, who admitted he’s aware of the challenge of 60 different decisions.

“I’m cognizant of the notion of 60 separate decisions here, but it’s good to see stakeholders, critical people like teachers, represented by the B.C. Teachers Federation, CUPE workers, the largest body of people in the K-12 system, their leadership saying a mandate is the logical next step.”

Horgan was asked about how this weight being placed on school districts would look in the north, where vaccination rates are lower than in the rest of the province and the public opinion around vaccinations may be more intensely divided. Horgan pointed to the hard work of elected officials, including opposition parties, in creating a unified voice.

“I want to commend MLA Bernier and MLA Davies, as well as personally, I have been reaching out to Dale Bumstead, the Mayor of Dawson Creek, who have taken courageous and appropriate stands on these issues in the interest of protecting their communities. Every one of them is going out of their way to protect people, and that’s as it should be.”

School District 60 Superintendent Stephen Petrucci says it’s still too early to discuss how the process would look, but more information would be released in the next week or two.

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