Policy on COVID-19 vaccinations and testing approved by Board
At a Special Board Meeting on Monday, November 29, in a 5-2 decision, the Board of Trustees approved a temporary COVID-19 Policy regarding COVID-19 vaccinations and testing. The temporary policy is supported by Administrative Procedure 161 Appendix C.
Starting January 10, 2022, staff, trustees, contractors, visitors, volunteers and practicum students will need to provide proof of full vaccination for COVID-19 or proof of a negative rapid test every 72 hours when attending any school facility. Vaccination or testing status will be confirmed through a confidential process. Criteria on requests for exemptions are included in the policy and will be decided on a case-by case basis.
The Division has also developed protocols for those individuals requiring rapid testing.
It is important to note there is no direction or intention by the Division whatsoever to require similar vaccination or testing protocols for students. Parents and emergency contacts are also not covered by the policy unless they are serving as volunteers in the school.
After hour activities will be dealt with differently and continue to be guided by provincial regulations, which currently include ⅓ fire code capacity, mandatory masking and physical distancing measures. Community user groups will follow the provincial Restriction Exemption Program that is outlined in their agreements.
On October 5, school divisions across Alberta were strongly encouraged by both the Minister of Health and Education as well as the Premier to establish mandates for staff to provide proof of vaccination for COVID-19. The decision was made following extensive discussions and review of the policy by insurance providers, legal counsel, CUPE and the ATA.
“We recognize there are diverse perspectives on this issue,” said Nicole Buchanan, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “This was not an easy decision, and one the Board discussed for many hours. Given the direction from the province, and 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. Because of this significant factor, the Board moved forward with a temporary COVID-19 Policy.”
Throughout the pandemic, Red Deer Public Schools has continued to follow all guidelines from Alberta Health Services and Alberta Education. “The temporary COVID-19 Policy is a reflection of our continued efforts to follow and support what the government is requesting,” said Chad Erickson, Superintendent.