School District 27 (SD27) will not establish a vaccine mandate for its staff at this time.
That was the message from SD27 board chair Ciel Patenaude in a press release issued Nov. 25.
The board made the decision at its regular board meeting Tuesday evening, Nov. 23.
Patenaude noted the board “understands this is a complex issue and may have many repercussions across our employee groups and ultimately students.”
“Given our general staffing supply, a vaccine mandate would negatively impact our ability to provide service, without demonstratively improving school safety. Transmission in schools remains low, and schools remain safe,” she stated.
At the start of the Tuesday evening board meeting, superintendent van der Mark did give a COVID update to the board.
“We have seen I think a continued decrease in provincial numbers so that’s good. We are still seeing exposure and exposure events in schools.” van der Mark said, noting the district has frequent inquiries about exposures in schools and, in some cases, isolation of students and staff is required.
Last month, the provincial government said school boards could consider establishing a vaccine mandate for employees, however, left the final decision in the hands of each individual school district in B.C.
Patenaude noted conditions of the pandemic change across the province and in district communities week to week and the board will “explore evidence to first examine whether the data supports further consideration of a more complex conversation.”
“As a Board of Education, this matter is outside of the usual realm of governance and far removed from the passion of what drives people to be trustees. The board is deeply aware that this matter requires thoughtfulness and humility. Our primary concern remains the safety of staff and students, and we appreciate everybody’s ongoing efforts to work through this pandemic.”