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The Surrey Board of Education is currently reviewing implications of a potential COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all K-12 staff.
"Getting immunized is a critical step that each of us needs to take for the safety of our community, and to hopefully end this pandemic," says Laurie Larsen, Chair of the Surrey Board of Education. "Mandating vaccines for all staff in our district is a significant step, with many implications. Our Board understands the importance of this issue and is committed to approaching this in a careful and thoughtful manner."
Last week, the provincial government launched a task force that will support districts considering vaccine mandates for staff. The task force includes the B.C. Public School Employers' Association, the Ministry of Education and the B.C. School Trustees Association.
"Ultimately, this task force will develop a framework and guidance for boards of education should a vaccine mandate be implemented in each district," says Larsen. "Our Board wants to ensure that we clearly understand provincial direction and what supports may be in place. We are also seeking advice from our health experts and weighing all of this with our obligation to our staff and our school communities."
The Surrey Board of Education discussed a potential mandate last week, with a focus on better understanding provincial direction. This Thursday (Oct. 14), all board chairs across the province will be meeting with the Ministry of Education to discuss implications and to hear more about the provincial direction and health advice.
"Our Board has a duty of responsibility to all of our staff, and we want to ensure that we consider their rights when making a decision of this magnitude," says Larsen. "Our superintendent is in the process of developing a report for the Board so we can have a full and comprehensive discussion as the provincial framework develops.
"Our Board is deeply committed to ensuring the health and safety of all staff and students in our district. We will continue to meet and discuss this issue and communicate regularly with our community."