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Canada’s largest public school board has unanimously voted to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for employees, trustees and visitors.
The Toronto District School Board made the announcement Thursday morning and said its curators had voted in favor of binding policy at the school committee meeting last night.
The school board says it is now in the hands of the TDSB staff to develop a plan for how it will work. The staff will develop a process for all workers, trustees and visitors. They must all be fully vaccinated and must disclose and prove their vaccination status.
“Employees have to develop this process now and the keyword is mandatory, it would apply not only to TDSB employees, but also to trustees and visitors,” said TDSB spokesman Ryan Bird on Thursday morning.
“Not only would you have to disclose and prove the vaccination, but you might also have to upload the certificate that you will receive after this second dose.”
The board says it aims to implement the process before schools reopen on September 9th.
It is not yet clear what will happen to people who refuse to be vaccinated, but Bird said the staff will set these details in the upcoming plan that is currently being worked on.
“We only received this instruction from trustees last night, and now the process needs to be developed,” said Bird. “There are legal implications, there are personnel implications, there are a number of implications.
He said staff are also working on what information will be publicly available on TDSB staff vaccination status and the role of COVID-19 tests in the plan.
The Ontario government previously announced that it would enact a policy requiring educational staff to either be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or to take part in a regular rapid test program of their own compulsory vaccination.
The school board noted in a press release on Thursday that people who are not vaccinated must first attend mandatory training on the benefits of the vaccine.
“[The plan will] establish a schedule of appointments by which all unvaccinated individuals must disclose whether they have received the first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccines,” the statement said. “TDSB will fulfill its human rights obligations and accommodate employees who have a legal right to accommodation.”
The new rules apply to all visitors, including parents who want to enter the school building. In the past year, parents were not allowed to enter schools at all due to the pandemic.
“The data is clear – a full vaccination significantly reduces the risks of the most serious consequences of COVID-19,” said TDSB Chairman Alexander Brown.
This is an important step in ensuring that we make our schools and workplaces as safe as possible for staff and students – especially younger students who are not eligible for the vaccine. ”
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