School District 69 (Qualicum) sign at 100 Jensen Ave. in Parksville. (PQB News file photo)

School District 69 (Qualicum) sign at 100 Jensen Ave. in Parksville. (PQB News file photo)

COVID-19: Qualicum school district board votes against vaccine mandate for staff

Decision made during in-camera discussion

The School District 69 (Qualicum) Board of Education has decided against a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for teachers, educational assistants, administration, custodians and bus drivers.

Board chair Eve Flynn said the decision was made during an in-camera discussion late last month.

“In recognition of our high community vaccination rates and our continuing with in-school safety protocols, including masking and hand sanitizing, we believe, at this time, School District 69 will not mandate vaccines for our employees,” she said.

Flynn’s motion, seconded by trustee Julie Austin, was unanimously carried.

READ MORE: Mandatory vaccination for B.C. school staff up to boards, says B.C. premier

“It was always the position of the BCTF (British Columbia’s Teachers’ Federation) that the government take responsibility for making that decision. And that they pushed it onto school boards, including ours, was not one that was supported by the BCTF,” said Matt Woods, president of the Mount Arrowsmith Teachers’ Association. “MATA appreciates the time and consideration that this board has taken to arrive at this difficult decision. And we support you with this decision.”

SD69 joins the Campbell River, Vancouver, Surrey, Abbotsford, New Westminster, Langley and Powell River school districts in not implementing a vaccine mandate for employees.

On Oct. 22, B.C.’s Ministry of Education issued guidelines to help school boards implement a vaccine policy, but ultimately left the decision up to individual school boards.

mandy.moraes@pqbnews.com

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