The Grande Prairie Public School Division will be pressing forward with developing a proof of COVID-19 vaccination mandate among all staff and volunteers who work directly with students.
Superintendent Sandy McDonald says the decision to present the proposal to the new Board of Trustees at its first meeting October 25th, came after lengthy deliberations. He believes there are costs or consequences associated with either decision but feels they’re going in the right decision.
“We’re kind of stepping out of our lane a little bit, but we explored the topics from a variety of different perspectives, including first and foremost the safety of our workplaces and our schools, and from the perspective of student learning,” he adds.
McDonald says they’ve benefited from watching the process unfold in other jurisdictions, including the Calgary Board of Education and the Government of Alberta. Mcdonald adds they plan on developing contingencies for exemptions as part of the policy as well, including the potential use of a negative test result. He says they’re not looking to lose staff over the matter and will work directly with those who require potential exemptions.
“We don’t want any of our staff to be in that position, if any one of our staff is no longer to work for us, there is an impact on student learning,” he says.
“We are going to develop a procedure that is reasonable, that addresses all staff, but we are also going to work with individual staff to ensure we can provide whatever reasonable accommodations are possible, and we’ll start by looking at the rapid testing.”
McDonald says by the end of November, the division may be close to completing the policy but is still working on a timeline for full implementation.