Horizon School Division covering COVID-19 testing requirement for staff up to 2022

·2 min read

The Horizon School Division will be giving up to a full-day with pay to allow staff the opportunity to get the COVID-19 vaccination, as well as covering costs for negative tests up to January.

Beginning mid to late October, all individual staff, contractors and volunteers with the Horizon School Division will be required to demonstrate proof of vaccination or a negative test result.

Kevin Garinger, Horizon’s director of education, said that by covering the costs until January, they are hoping to provide an opportunity for employees to take some time before deciding what their long-term plan is going to be.

“We’re not mandating vaccinations, we’re mandating that either they’re vaccinated, provide proof of that, or provide proof of negative testing,” said Kevin Garinger, Horizon’s director of education.

“We’re trying to help people to make those decisions and we’re also helping people transition to that place where they can work through whatever they need to do to make an informed decision.”

As per the administrative policy, the division will require the proof for all employees, including substitutes who are employed on a day-to-day basis; all contractors, including those who provide food and bus services; child care providers who use Horizon facilities; any individual or organization who provides direct service to students during the school day; and, volunteers who routinely spend time in our schools and facilities and are around children and staff including community coaches, and volunteer drivers.

According to the previously approved Horizon COVID-19 strategy, proof of vaccination is not required for students to attend school except when they are deemed a close contact to a household case. Based on the recent Public Health Order, students who are close contacts and are vaccinated may return to both in-class learning and extracurricular activity as long as they are asymptomatic.

Students who are close contacts in a classroom and are unvaccinated will be able to return to in-class learning but will not be eligible for any extracurricular activities until Saskatchewan Health determines they are no longer a close contact.

Horizon School Division said it is hopeful that traditional graduation ceremonies will return in 2022 and is encouraging schools to book venues and plan for in-person celebrations with contingency plans in place if tight restrictions are put in place due to a surge in COVID-19 cases.

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

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