SD23 chair frustrated COVID-19 vaccine guidelines released after policy left to boards | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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SD23 chair frustrated COVID-19 vaccine guidelines released after policy left to boards

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK

The chair of the Central Okanagan school board is frustrated with the province’s new guidelines for school boards on COVID-19 vaccination mandates after it announced the decision will lie in school board hands.

The ministry said the guidelines, which include gathering data and consultation with First Nations and employee groups, will help school boards encourage vaccination in their communities and to determine if a mandatory vaccination policy works best for them. The province has said the decision to require vaccinations among staff lies with school boards.

READ MORE: B.C. school boards told to determine their own vaccine policy for staff

“If they were going to announce that this was individual board’s decisions, they should have had these frameworks ready at the same time. I think if you want to use this expression, they’ve put the cart before the horse, it’s quite frustrating,” said Moyra Baxter, Central Okanagan Public Schools board chair.

The school board will be examining the guidelines and will discuss finding a way of privately finding out how many people have been vaccinated “so we know how to move on,” Baxter said.

The issue will be discussed during a closed meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 27, she said, because it’s now a labour relations issue.

She doesn’t yet know the opinions of the other board members and what direction they’ll decide on mandating vaccines.

Superintendent Christine Perkins, with Vernon School District No. 22, said the vaccination policy is still in “a hold and wait situation” as they received more information from the B.C. Public School’s Employers Association this past weekend as well as template documents on how to proceed, she said.

Then they’ll have a conversation along with data gathering and consultation with partners prior to making a decision, she said.

There’s no set timeline as of yet what they decide and there’s no indication of what the board will decide, she said.

Okanagan Skaha and Kamloops school boards did not return a request for comment by Tuesday’s news deadline.

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