The North Okanagan Shuswap School District is waiting for guidance from Interior Health when it comes to collecting employee vaccination status and will provide the information if requested by IH.
“After careful consideration of the many factors involved in this extremely sensitive and highly complex issue, the Board of Trustees believes that upon the direction of Interior Health, a proof of vaccination requirement is the right decision for employees within the North Okanagan-Shuswap,” said Tennile Lachmuth, SD83 Board Vice-Chair in making the announcement on behalf of the School District No. 83 Board of Education.
During the Jan. 18 in-camera meeting, the board of education discussed and considered vaccine policy information presented and shared at previous in-camera sessions and the recent Public Health Order, issued by the Provincial Health Officer on Jan.17.
A letter on the SD83 website stated “after significant discussion and with thoughtful consideration, the board directed school district staff to proceed with the collection of “staff vaccination status” once directed by Interior Health, to help protect the health and safety of both staff and students.”
This decision follows months of discussion and consultation involving rights holders, stakeholders, employee groups, district staff and the medical health officers for the Interior Health region.
Any procedures implemented will be done so in accordance with:
- The K-12 Sector Guidelines for Vaccination Policies and the BCPSEA Template Operations Procedure;
- The Human Rights Code of British Columbia or Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, ensuring that the School District complies with its obligation to accommodate individuals who are legally entitled to accommodations for medical reasons; and
- The School District’s privacy obligations.
“Public health continues to advise us of the need for unvaccinated people to get immunized as soon as possible, as vaccines reduce people’s risk of severe illness,” said Lachmuth. “We believe it is important that we do our utmost to protect our students and staff. Anything we can do to reduce their risk of getting COVID, lessen the severity of their symptoms, or reduce their time away from work or school is worth doing. We strongly urge any employees who have not yet been fully vaccinated, to do so as soon as possible.”