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Vaccine Mandate for Employees

News Release

For Immediate Release

January 21, 2022

Board of Education To Vote on Vaccine Mandate for Employees

At a special meeting of the Board on January 20, 2022, the Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ Board of Education decided to implement, and amend as necessary, a vaccine mandateto help protect the health and safety of both students and staff. The Board directed staff to create an administrative procedure to apply to all staff in accordance with the following:

  • The procedure will be consistent with the K-12 Sector Guidelines for Vaccination Policies and the BCPSEA Template Operations Procedure.
  • Appropriate employee representatives (including unions and joint health and safety committees), and parent, First Nations, Métis, Inuit, and community partners will be consulted.
  • The procedures will ensure the School District complies with its obligation to accommodate individuals who are legally entitled to accommodation for medical reasons or under the Human Rights Code of British Columbia or Canadian Charter of Rights of Freedoms.
  • The procedure will ensure the School District’s privacy obligations are met.
  • That the finalized procedure and communication plan be implemented as soon as possible.

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, school districts in B.C. have been receiving, implementing and promoting public health orders and advice from the Provincial Health Office, BCCDC and the Ministry of Education,” said Board Chair Charlene McKay. “Through their guidance it allowed for schools to remain open and safe for in-class learning for students.

It is vitally important, especially with the current Omicron variant, that we take the necessary step to protect our students and staff. We did not take this decision lightly and it follows a careful review of considerations as outlined in the K-12 provincial guidelines document for vaccination policies and in consultation with our Medical Health Officers.

It is anticipated that the administrative procedure will be presented by staff at a future meeting of the Board and will include direction on the collection of employee vaccination status and the planning for testing for unvaccinated employees following sufficient time for all employees to become vaccinated.

The Board took the necessary steps to make a thoughtful and informed decision by collaborating with its partners, utilizing provincial data and assessing how the Omicron variant will affect the operation of schools. The Board’s goal is to keep schools open and continue to create a safe and caring environment.

The Board encourages everyone that is eligible to consider public health advice to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as it is the best protection against the virus by reducing transmission and reducing complication brought on by COVID-19.”

Letter from the Superintendent – August 29, 2021

Dear NLPS families and staff,

As the end of the summer break draws near, we are turning our attention to welcoming students and staff back to our schools and facilities to begin, what will be, the third school year contending with the COVID-19 pandemic. We know many families have had a challenging summer dealing with many distressing issues including extreme heat, the discovery of an increasing number of unmarked graves of Indigenous children in B.C. and across Canada, wildfires raging out of control and, of course, COVID-19.

While we live in troubling times, I hope you had an opportunity to spend time with family and friends relaxing and recharging and we hope you are looking forward to the school year ahead. In addition, a special welcome to students who are new to the district as well as those students returning to their catchment schools from homeschooling and distance/online learning.

I want to take this opportunity to share two important updates:

Return to School – Ministry of Education Announcement

Up until recently, Vancouver Island had seen a dramatic drop in positive COVID-19 cases. While the future looked promising for some time, in the last couple weeks, B.C., like many other provinces, has seen a rise in cases due in large part to the Delta variant. Given the present landscape, the Minister of Education, Jennifer Whiteside, and Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, recently announced a return to school plan with health and safety measures that look very similar to what they were this past June.

All students in Grades 4 – 12 are required to wear a non-medical face mask while indoors, including at their desk and on school buses while our Kindergarten to Grade 3 students are strongly encouraged to wear a mask. All staff and school visitors will also be required to wear masks while indoors. Students will not be organized in cohorts and you can expect the return of extracurricular activities, clubs and intramural sports teams.   Daily health checks, enhanced cleaning measures and a reminder to staff and students to stay home if they are feeling unwell are all part of the restart plan as well. On Monday, August 30, 2021, you will receive a letter from your school principal sharing further information concerning the new guidelines along with other school start-up expectations.

Schools continue to be considered low-risk settings for COVID-19 transmission, particularly in the context of a highly immunized population. Vaccines are the most effective way to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in schools and everyone eligible is strongly encouraged to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

I appreciate that some will disagree with the safety measures that we have in place for the 2021-2022 school year. While some will consider the measures too restrictive, others will see them as not restrictive enough. For our part, we will continue to take health and safety direction from the Provincial Health Officer, the Ministry of Education as well as our local Medical Health Officer.

A copy of the BCCDC Public Health Guidelines along with more COVID-19 information can be found on the district’s COVID-19 webpage.

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation – September 30, 2021

On June 3, 2021, the federal government announced that Bill C-5An Act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code (National Day for Truth and Reconciliation), had received Royal Assent and that the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation will be observed by federal government employees and by federally regulated workplaces every year, starting on September 30, 2021.

Here in B.C., the provincial government also recognized the importance of honouring a day for Truth and Reconciliation.  As a result, all provincial public sector employers, which includes public school districts, will recognize September 30, 2021, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, as a holiday for staff and students.

The 2021-22 district calendar has been updated, along with the minimum number of hours of instruction that must be offered as per the School Act and Calendar Regulation, as directed by the Ministry of Education.

We thank you for your ongoing support and patience as we work through the Public Health Guidelines to keep your children safe and learning this school year. A sincere thank-you to every one of the 2,300 Nanaimo Ladysmith Public School staff who are committed to ensuring the safest, most caring school experience for all of our students. We endeavour to provide families and staff with updates that concern you as soon as new information becomes available.


Scott Saywell

Superintendent’s year end message

To all staff, students, parents and guardians of Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools, I wanted to take a moment to reflect as our school year concludes. As a district we have a great deal to be proud of this year. We ensured that despite the greatest challenge of our generation - COVID-19 – students were safe and well supported. We made sure that the children of essential service workers had schools to attend in the early stages of the pandemic.... [ read full post ]

Letter to Families: District plan for Monday, June 28, 2021

Dear NLPS families, With the forecast of extremely high temperatures tomorrow (Monday, June 28th), we wanted to provide you with an update on our plans for the day. Schools will remain open, however, we are encouraging families to keep their children home, if possible. Staff will be at the school to receive students who choose to attend. Buses will run their regular routes. School staff will do all they can to keep students cool, including:... [ read full post ]

Letter to families – Kamloops Indian Residential School

Dear NLPS families, Today, we are all feeling tremendous sorrow and pain for the 215 unnamed children discovered buried on the former grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School. In honour of those children who were taken from their homes and their families who did not have a chance to say goodbye, the district has lowered its flags to half mast. Our thoughts and condolences are with the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc First Nation and its neighbouring communities.... [ read full post ]