95.9 per cent of Horizon teachers fully vaccinated

·3 min read

A total of 95.9 per cent of Horizon School Division teachers and 89.3 per cent of support staff have identified themselves as fully vaccinated.

The total number of those two groups is 912.

Beginning Jan. 1, Horizon Trustees, staff, volunteers, and contractors who are unvaccinated or haven’t declared their vaccination status will be responsible for their own COVID-19 testing. Previously, the division previously placed a section in their administrative policy that they would supply the testing up to January in order to give staff time to decide what they would like to choose long-term between vaccinations or regular testing.

Kevin Garinger, Horizon’s director of education, said the current numbers give a strong sense for him in regards to how the community views vaccination.

“Obviously people recognize the importance of public health being everybody’s responsibility, and so people have taken that responsibility on and they have chosen to be vaccinated,” Garinger said. “Those who haven’t, the vast majority have chosen obviously to be tested and follow the protocols of the Horizon School Division.”

The division’s COVID-19 policy was reviewed at their Nov. 10 meeting during a closed portion, which saw no changes made.

In this particular discussion, Garinger said the focus was on extracurricular activities. Currently, extracurricular activities are implemented with a specific COVID-19 strategy that determines restrictions based on four levels of concern that differ from the school’s level of concern.

In this strategy, level 1, which is a mild level of concern with a low level of urgency, student athletes may take part in more than one program concurrently in their school, and equipment must be sanitized between teams, among other restrictions. In level 4, which is a high level of concern and urgency, indoor extra-curricular activity is limited to training and skills development, with a maximum of eight students in any one area, masks will be worn at all times, and a three-metre distance will be maintained at all times.

“In upcoming meetings we’ll continue to review and I think generally speaking we’re looking at the needs of our students and staff and we’re trying to ensure we can keep kids engaged in activities, including all extracurricular, meaning the arts, drama, music,” Garinger said.

During the meeting on Nov. 10, a delegation was heard by the board from a substitute teacher in the division, who objected to the provincial requirement of indoor masking, vaccine availability efforts by the board, and the testing of asystematic staff members. Instead, the delegate promoted ivermectin, an antiparasitic drug which Health Canada previously warned Canadians not to use to prevent or treat COVID-19 after Canadian poison centres saw an increase in reports involving the drug over the summer.

Garinger said the delegation was a continued effort from the board to hear from their stakeholders.

“The board’s never had a delegation come to them related to that and so this was an opportunity to hear what some people’s views are.”

Jessica R. Durling, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Humboldt Journal

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