While a decision on this hot topic was kicked down the road until there was more information on it, a couple of Trustees did make their feelings known last (Wednesday) night.
Trustee Cyril Tobin.
“So I am anxious to vote for a vaccine mandate but I do respect your request from our senior leaders and the Trustees and the Senior Management Team that we need a bit more time. And again, just for the public, I am certainly speaking for myself when I say I am anxious to vote in favour of a vaccine mandate.”
Trustee Julie-Anne Runge noted that they have been able to pretty much keep COVID-19 out of their schools for the past two years, despite a low vaccination rate in the Cariboo, with safety protocols.
“I think we’ve been heroes the last two years and our safety protocols that we’ve had in our schools has kept our rate of spread within schools almost nothing. We have prevented the spread because of the practices we’ve been doing, we’ve been doing a really good job. So we’ve been heroes but I would hate for us to turn into villains without more information before making this kind of decision, taking away the livelihood of some of our staff due to a choice that has clearly not put any of us into danger for the last two years.”
The decision is up to individual school districts to make, although the Board is now waiting for information to come from a provincial advisory committee.
Perry Lofstrom is the Director of Instruction and Human Resources.
“There is a provincial advisory committee which is working really hard to make this work and is using perspectives from all the stakeholders available, including the unions and Employers Associations and government itself.”
Lofstrom says it is a complex issue and that there will be a lot to consider, including freedom of information.
“How do we maintain confidentiality and then also how would we gather information ? So those are just a couple of questions and they have not informed us yet what that would be. The Provincial Advisory Committee is going to be working with BCPC to develop some templates and guidelines for us to consider, and the Board would then have to consider the framework and the template and determine what its actions wold be.”
More information is expected in the next 2 to 3 weeks.