Today, the Wild Rose School Division Board of Trustees passed the following motion:
“That the Board moves to direct administration to develop Appendix A to Administrative Procedure 166 Pandemic Disease Outbreak Protocol to address covid vaccine measures including choice of vaccination or negative covid test in a manner that ensures accessibility and to be reviewed as needed. By December 6, 2021 status will be provided, and by January 5, 2022 be fully vaccinated or begin testing.”
The Board began their discussion of this issue after receiving a letter from the Ministers of Education and Health on October 5, 2021, strongly encouraging all school divisions in the province to implement proof of vaccination or negative test result policies for adults working in school buildings.
In response to this letter, Wild Rose School Division initiated an extensive review process of the following information:
- WRSD COVID-19 hazard assessment
- Occupational Health and Safety considerations
- Legal considerations
- Insurance implications
- Employee and public input
- Operational risks
- Practical implementation considerations
- Decisions of other school divisions
The Board noted that the province of Alberta is currently under a state of emergency due to COVID-19 and that COVID-19 has been declared as a workplace hazard. As such, in order to support safe and healthy working environments in our schools and offices, WRSD will be developing an Administrative Procedure that will be requiring proof of vaccination or biweekly negative test results from all school and Division staff, including substitute teachers and casual staff. This Administrative Procedure will be shared in the coming days.
Please note that this new procedure DOES NOT apply to students or parents (unless parents are volunteering at the school, in which case they are considered agents of the Division and workers under provincial legislation).
As of December 6, 2021 all Division employees must declare their vaccination status to Human Resources as fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated or not vaccinated.
Starting January 5, 2022 all Division employees that have not submitted acceptable proof of full vaccination, will be required to submit acceptable biweekly proof of a negative COVID-19 test to Human Resources. The Division will initially provide rapid testing kits at no charge to these employees who will self-administer these tests in the privacy of their own homes. The appropriate forms to be filled out will be emailed to staff in the coming days.
As of January 5, 2022, any volunteer or independent contractor who will have direct contact with employees and/or Division students in our schools must be fully vaccinated. If not fully vaccinated, the volunteer or independent contractor must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 rapid antigen screening test or PCR test completed no more than 72 hours prior to the time the volunteer or independant contractor will have contact, in their assigned capacity, with employees and/or Division students. The Division will not provide rapid tests or cover the costs of rapid tests in any way for independent contractors. The Division will provide rapid tests at no charge to volunteers and practicum students.
Due to the evolving and dynamic nature of this public health matter, and ongoing direction, recommendations and advice from public health officials and Alberta Education, this new Appendix will be considered temporary. As a result, it will be periodically reviewed, updated, amended or rescinded as deemed necessary.
Throughout this public health crisis, we have been committed to keeping our students and staff safe. As a public school division, we have relied on advice and guidance from the Chief Medical Officer of Health and Alberta Health Services since the very beginning of this pandemic. The Division is committed to the health of students, staff, and families and will continue to make the decisions necessary to keep our school communities safe and our schools open for in-person learning. We are grateful to families for their continued support and understanding during these challenging times.