FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – After a special meeting on April 12th, the School District 59 board passed a motion to cease their vaccine disclosure policy.
“[The board reviewed] the Proof of Vaccination Regarding COVID-19 Operations Procedure. At that meeting, the board passed a motion to cease the [procedure], ending the requirement for employees and independent contractors to disclose their vaccination status,” SD 59 said in a release.
The district added that this decision also ended the rapid test program requirement for staff and contractors who weren’t fully vaccinated or chose not to disclose their vaccination status.
SD 59 says the board reviewed multiple data sources to inform this decision, including data on staff and student absences, data from the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) on
positivity rates, and the lifting of restrictions from provincial public health.
“The board will continue to receive guidance and advice from the Ministry of Education, BCPSEA, and provincial and local health authorities. Communicable disease protocols are still
being implemented in all schools and district offices, as the health and safety of staff, students and members of the public continue to be a priority of the board,” the district said.
A few employees of School District 59 and 60 have raised concerns about vaccine disclosure policies within the Peace region.
According to one employee, who requested to remain anonymous over the fear of losing their job, SD59’s disclosure policy required staff that weren’t vaccinated to perform rapid tests. They added that those who refused had to go on leave without pay.
“I think if they would have reached out, they probably would have realized that this wasn’t something that the majority of the people would’ve liked to see happen,” the employee stated.
SD 60 didn’t implement a vaccine policy as the board believed the policy wasn’t needed due to schools being low-risk settings, high vaccine rates among staff, schools remaining open being a top priority, replacement staff shortages and capacity for all staffing at a critical level.
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