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.”