Decisions expected this week as Calgary school boards mull mandatory vaccinations for all staff

Both of Calgary’s school boards say they’re looking at implementing a mandatory vaccination policy for all staff. Decisions are expected later this week. 

The Calgary Board of Education says its board of trustees has been advocating for a provincial vaccine mandate for education sector staff since at least Sept. 17, when it outlined concerns over COVID-19 in schools in a letter to Education Minister Adriana LaGrange. 

“Having the educators that serve them be fully vaccinated is just another layer of protection for those kids,” said board chair Marilyn Dennis in an interview at the time.

The CBE says it is now reviewing its options. 

“[We] will communicate more information to staff and families this week,” the board said in a statement. 

The Calgary Catholic School District said mandatory vaccinations will be discussed at its upcoming board meeting later this week. 

“The board of trustees will discuss mandatory vaccination for all school staff in an effort to further protect our school communities,” the district said in a statement. 

“If the CCSD board approves mandatory vaccination, the CCSD will take steps to communicate this to all staff and provide direction and guidelines, which will include the option for mandatory rapid testing and exceptions.”

On Monday, the Edmonton Public School Board announced it is mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for all employees. The school board has given employees until mid-October to disclose their vaccination status.

Last week, the Alberta Teachers’ Association put its support behind either the government or individual school boards, should they choose to implement a vaccine mandate for teachers. 

“We’re encouraging our members to be as safe as possible and to look at this as another tool that can be used to help keep COVID out of our schools,” said ATA president Jason Schilling.

Currently, there are no vaccine mandates for students or staff at Calgary schools.

Immunizations were meant to be available through temporary clinics in schools for staff and students in Grades 7 through 12. However, hundreds of those clinics were cancelled across the province last month — mostly caused by a low number of parental consents forms being turned in but also because some schools chose to opt out. 

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