Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
On November 9, the Prairie Rose Public Schools Board of Trustees approved a motion requiring proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result for all staff who work directly with students.
The motion was put forward by Trustee Lois Bedwell and after discussion of different aspects of the motion, including the ability for staff to test, vaccine hesitancy, legal implications and board liability, potential insurance costs, clarification related to what is meant by ‘staff’ and the timeline for implementation of the policy. The motion passed 4-3.
“Occupational health and safety is an issue. The fact is that COVID has been identified as a hazard in order to keep our workplace safe. It’s like something that’s broken on the playground, once you’re aware of a hazard you need to deal with it,” said Bedwell. “We are giving a choice, we are not mandating that you have to have a vaccination, we’re mandating a policy or procedure, you have the choice of being vaccinated, or you have the choice of having a rapid test, we will make sure that they’re available, we’ll do whatever we can in order to make it easier for staff in order to be tested. And from what I understand, is there 72 hours you’d have to have a test. So that is part of how we would direct administration to make sure and to enable that point.”
A second motion was put forward by Trustee Shauna Vanderspruit for administration to draft a letter to the Ministry of Health, to remind the government that making health decisions should be the purview of the Ministry and not individual school boards.
The letter will also contain a request for funding to cover the cost of implementing a rapid testing program in schools. The motion was carried unanimously.