Teachers and other employees at Red Deer Public Schools will need to be vaccinated or provide a negative rapid test semi-weekly starting Jan. 10.
The school division’s board of trustees attended a virtual special meeting Monday afternoon to discuss the COVID-19 policy, brought forward by superintendent Chad Erickson.
The board voted 5-2 in favour of implementing the policy – Matt Gould, Dianne Macaulay, Cathy Peacocke, Angela Sommers and Jim Watters voted in favour, while board chair Nicole Buchanan and Bev Manning were opposed.
There are three general guidelines listed in the policy: All employees, contractors and volunteers are required to be fully immunized with a vaccine against COVID-19 which is approved by Health Canada or Alberta Health Services no later than Jan. 10. If an employee, contractor or volunteer is unable or unwilling to comply with the policy, the employee, contractor or volunteer must comply with semi-weekly (every 72 hours) COVID-19 rapid testing requirements as outlined in the administrative procedure.
Any employee, contractor or volunteer who is unable or unwilling to comply with this policy and accompanying administrative procedure must inform the division before Dec. 10 or as soon as reasonably possible.
This policy does not apply to students or parents, unless they are acting as an employe, contractor or volunteer.
“We have a responsibility” to provide staff with a safe working environment, Watters said during the meeting.
“We’re doing it for the kids and for the community,” he added.
The policy was initially called the Harm Reduction Policy, but during Monday’s meeting an amendment was approved 6-1 to change the name to the COVID-19 policy. Another amendment, to include trustees in the list of parties the policy applies to, was approved 5-2.
On Oct. 28, the school board approved a motion for the superintendent to develop the temporary board policy that was approved Monday.
Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools trustees unanimously passed a motion on Oct. 26 to indefinitely postpone a decision regarding the vaccination and rapid screening program.