The Board of Education of School District No. 19 has deferred a COVID-19 proof of vaccination procedure. (File photo)

The Board of Education of School District No. 19 has deferred a COVID-19 proof of vaccination procedure. (File photo)

Revelstoke board of education defers vaccination mandate for staff

The board announced the deferral at a school board meeting on Mar. 16

Plans to implement a vaccination policy for staff at Revelstoke schools have been suspended for the time being, following an update from the BC Public School Employers Association (BCPSEA).

The Revelstoke Board of Education passed a motion Jan. 11 2022 to implement a proof of vaccination policy for all district employees and contractors working in schools, to help protect the health and safety of both staff and students.

READ MORE: Revelstoke board of education to adopt vaccination mandate for staff

The original policy was originally set to be in place on Apr. 1 2022, but following recent health information and advice from the BCPSEA the board has decided to indefinitely defer the vaccination policy.

According to the board of education, local context was also taken into consideration when making the decision.

Data from the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) shows 96 per cent of individuals in Revelstoke over the age of 18 have had at least two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Superintendent Mike Hooker said the high rates of vaccination reported in the community, and the advice from BCPSEA, made delaying further work on such a policy for staff appropriate.

The board also said recent statements from the Provincial Health Office indicate that plans to require all health professionals to be vaccinated, in order to continue working, have been rescinded.

The indefinite deferral of the vaccination policy leaves the framework still in place should public health officials decide to implement more restrictions in the future, and the board said that the policy could be brought back swiftly if needed.

The original policy stated that those who are unwilling or unable to present proof of vaccination would be provided with routine rapid testing, as often as three tests per week, as a condition of continued work. Employees would be given the option to be placed on unpaid leave if unable to provide proof of vaccination or routine rapid tests.

The board of education’s proof of vaccine requirement did not apply to students.

As of Mar. 11 the province’s indoor mask order was repealed along with eased restrictions on long-term care visitors, faith gatherings and overnight camps for children and youth.

According to the provincial government, starting Apr. 8 proof of vaccination will no longer be required to access businesses, events and services.

READ MORE: Revelstoke schools prepare for loosened COVID-19 guidelines following provincial announcement


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