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Catholic school division developing vaccination procedure

Procedure to include that the division will pay for all testing, vaccinations will not be mandated, and for those in compliance, job losses will not occur
MVT stock COVID-19

INNISFAIL - The Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools (RDCRS) board of trustees has instructed administration to immediately develop and implement an administrative procedure requiring COVID-19 rapid testing or vaccination that would apply across the division.

The move came by way of motion at the board’s recent regularly schedule meeting. The 11,000-student RDCRS division includes schools in Olds and Innisfail.

Asked if the new procedure will apply to all teachers and staff in the division, superintendent Kathleen Finnigan told the Albertan, “We are still in development, therefore I cannot give you this information yet. It will not include students.”

As for when the new procedure will be in place, she said, "I am not sure of the timelines. We need to follow our admin procedure development to ensure stakeholder feedback."

Administration has been instructed to develop the procedure with a number of restrictions, including that the division will pay for all testing, vaccinations will not be mandated, and for those in compliance, job losses will not occur.

Asked what will happen to persons not in compliance with the procedure, board chairman Kim Pasula told the Albertan that, “In that instance administration will utilize procedures that are already in existence. They would use the already existing disciplinary measures that would apply across the division in all matters.”

He could not say exactly when the procedure will be in place. Although the board does not need to approve the new procedure, trustees will ensure it complies with all division polices, he said.

The decision to develop the procedure comes after the provincial government said in October that it was encouraging school authorities to develop policies that require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for teachers, staff and anyone who enters a school.

Trustees had earlier instructed administration to create a report addressing a number of questions.

In the report, administration was to address issues such as medical exemptions, discretionary leave, unpaid leave, testing outside of assignable/instructional time, Freedom of Information, Alberta School Board COVID-19 vaccination policies, appeal process, contractors, antibody tests, supply of tests, costs of test, insurance and process monitoring.

The report was presented to trustees at the Nov. 30 board meeting, and was followed by the trustees directing administration develop the new procedure.

Once the new RDCRS procedure is in place it will be reviewed and revised as necessary by administration every month, he noted.

The 11,000-student Chinook’s School Division (CESD) has adopted a harm reduction administrative procedure that will require all staff, trustees, practicum students and volunteers to either provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination, commit to rapid testing, or have approved medical exemptions. It comes into effective Jan. 10, 2022.

CESD includes schools in Innisfail, Olds, Didsbury,  Sundre, Carstairs, Cremona, Bowden and Mountain View County.

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