School District 8 Launches Mandatory COVID Vaccination Policy

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 Staff and contractors who work at the Kootenay-Lake School District must have proof of COVID vaccination status in less than two months.

School District 8 Superintendent Trish Smillie said the rules are clear.

“Staff who are unvaccinated or fail to disclose their vaccination status, by Mar. 11 will be required to undergo rapid testing in order to continue work or take an extraordinary leave of absence, which is an unpaid leave of absence,” she stated and added district officials will use the next seven weeks to outline the proof of vaccination process.

“We will be working with our employers association, as well as consulting with our union groups and our Indigenous partners and ensure we have this procedure correct when we introduce it,” according to the superintendent.  

Smillie also said anyone who doesn't provide proof of vaccination status will be considered unvaccinated and privacy will be maintained through the process.

“Those who are able to be legally entitled for accommodations for medical reasons, or under the human rights code of B-C will have access to those rights when they’re submitting their proof of vaccinations or their exemptions,” she said.

 The district has about 900 employees.

Meanwhile, the Kootenay-Columbia School Board is still working on its vaccination plan. 

A School District 20 survey filled out by just over half of its approximately 820 employees indicated about 95% are fully vaccinated, while about 1.5% haven’t had any shots.