Manitoba school division drafts vaccine policy for extracurricular activities

The Louis Riel School Division announced a draft policy that would require eligible students participating in extracurricular activities to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo mandatory testing.

Division Superintendent Christian Michalik gave details on the draft policy in an email to parents Monday.

He said the draft policy received first reading by the LRSD Board of Trustees on Sept. 7, and is aimed at ensuring successful return to in-school learning and to mitigate the risk of a fourth wave of the pandemic.

The policy specifies that in order to participate in extracurricular activities, a student born on or before Dec. 31, 2009, must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Parents or guardians have to disclose and provide proof of student vaccination status prior to the student engaging in the activity.

Alternatively, students in that age group would have to be tested at a Province of Manitoba site 48 hours before the activity and provide the results to the school, with consent of a parent or caregiver.

The email said once rapid test kits are available to the division, testing could occur before the activity.

According to Michalik, now that students are back in school, the feedback process on the draft policy will happen at a local level. This means school administrators will connect with parent advisory councils, student leadership groups and staff committees this week to get feedback on the draft policy.

"The Board of Trustees will review the feedback before considering the policy for a second reading on Sept. 21," the email said.

A potential third reading would then happen on Oct. 5 and if the draft policy is adopted, it would take effect immediately.

In the meantime, Michalik said all extracurricular activities must adhere to current LRSD policies and strategies. A list of current fall sports guidelines can be found here.