Sask. school divisions contemplating mandatory vaccines for staff

·2 min read
The Saskatchewan School Boards Association says school divisions are considering bringing in vaccine mandates for staff. (David Donnelly/CBC - image credit)
The Saskatchewan School Boards Association says school divisions are considering bringing in vaccine mandates for staff. (David Donnelly/CBC - image credit)

The Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA) says school divisions from across the province are now considering bringing in vaccine mandates for staff.

The association has drafted a policy for school divisions to use, should they decide to make vaccines mandatory.

"We've also shared information with them around the province's recommendation that large employers like school divisions consider vaccination policies," said SSBA president Shawn Davidson.

"We know our divisions have heard from their local health officials on that issue."

Davidson said the SSBA does not have the authority to make decisions for individual school divisions. Instead, it is providing advice and support to school board trustees, who would make the final decision.

Both the Regina and Saskatoon public school divisions said they were considering mandating vaccinations.

In an email, a Saskatoon Public Schools spokesperson said that it had previously received legal guidance that without a public health order, the division could not mandate vaccinations. However, it was revisiting that information in light of last week's public health order.

In another email, a spokesperson for Regina Public Schools said the school board would be discussing the idea next week.

The new provincial health order brought in a vaccine mandate for all government ministry, Crown and other provincial agency employees, as of Oct. 1. It also encouraged school divisions to implement similar policies.

Davidson said the SSBA is trying to not cause disruptions or shutdowns in schools.

"We know how important it is that we keep our students in our buildings," he said.

"We know the most robust and effective learning takes place is when we've got students in our classrooms."

Davidson said he was encouraged that the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation began calling for mandatory vaccinations last month.

It's not clear when the 27 school boards in the province will make their decisions.

Any vaccine mandate would only apply to staff, not students.

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