BOARD MEETING UPDATE: Vaccine mandates for staff
Development process for Harm Reduction Policy regarding COVID-19 vaccinations for staff
The Board of Trustees for Red Deer Public Schools is considering a temporary policy regarding harm reduction for staff related to COVID-19 vaccinations.
At a special meeting on October 28, the Board of Trustees directed the Superintendent to develop a Temporary Harm Reduction Board Policy regarding the requirement of Division staff to provide proof of full vaccination for COVID-19 or proof of a negative rapid test every 72 hours for COVID-19.
On October 5, 2021, school divisions across Alberta were strongly encouraged by both the Minister of Health and Education as well as the Premier to establish such policies. Given that direction, through conversations with our insurance provider underwriters, they expect school divisions to implement such policies to mitigate risk. With these expectations, failure to move forward with such a policy puts the Division at risk of either losing its insurance coverage or facing excessive premium increases that would have had a significant impact on our budget. This is a significant factor in moving forward with this temporary policy.
It is important to note this proposed policy would only relate to staff and there is no direction or intention by the Division whatsoever to require similar protocols for students.
Work on the policy is currently underway and out of an abundance of diligence, the Superintendent wants to ensure the policy will be sound and address all potential issues. That includes a review by insurance providers, legal counsel, CUPE and ATA. We will also look at similar policies from other school jurisdictions to ensure completeness.
While we initially anticipated this could be dealt with at the regularly scheduled Board meeting on November 10, 2021, the work in drafting the temporary policy is extensive and will require a special meeting once it is sufficiently reviewed and vetted.
Any decisions regarding such policy will be made by the Board of Trustees at a Public Meeting which will be announced in advance.
Given the current COVID-19 restrictions, the meeting will be held virtually and links to the meeting will be provided to the public.
We recognize there are diverse perspectives on this issue. If individuals wish to share their comments and suggestions with the Board, we ask that those be directed by email to Trustees@rdpsd.ab.ca and these will be shared with all Trustees as well as Senior Administration. No presentations from the public will be included during the public meeting.