School boards required to implement vaccination policy

Posted On Thursday September 09, 2021

The Chief Medical Officer of Health has instructed Ontario school boards to implement a strict vaccination policy by September 27, 2021 that requires all staff to show proof of vaccination, medical exemption or provide regular negative COVID-19 test results. At the present time, testing will take place twice a week. 

The Thames Valley District School Board has already implemented a protocol that aligns with the instructions of the Chief Medical Officer, said Education Director Mark Fisher, adding that a formal policy will be drafted for public input during the coming weeks. 

Instructions issued by the Chief Medical Officer of Health can be found at the following: LINK 

Trustees were informed of the latest public health instructions at a Special Meeting of the Board on September 8, 2021 during debate on several motions regarding vaccination of staff.  

A motion to develop a mandatory vaccination policy for all employees, trustees and frequent visitors was withdrawn due to the Chief Medical Officer of Health’s latest instructions to school boards. 

A motion to write a letter to the province requesting further guidance on the use of wind instruments, singing and contact sports in school settings was deferred to the next Board meeting on September 28, 2021. Another motion to write a letter to the province expressing the Board’s support for adding COVID-19 vaccines to the list of compulsory vaccinations for students was also deferred to the next Board meeting.  

Trustees also approved a motion to write a letter requesting the Minister of Education to supply all staff with approved masks, such as N95, for daily PPE use. The motion also allows staff to wear their own approved N95 masks. The Board’s Joint Health and Safety Committees will develop guidelines for acceptable use of such masks.   

The following is a review of September 8, 2021 Board motions:  

Motion 1 – Deferred to 2021 September 28 Board Meeting  
That the Chair write a letter to the local Chief Medical Officers of Health, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Minister of Education and the Minister of Health asking for revised guidance in writing on the use of wind instruments, singing and contact sports in school settings.  

If they choose not to revise the guidance, they respond to the board by letter asserting that to the best of their knowledge they deem these activities indoor and unmasked; safe and acceptable while Ontario is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. That until such time as these activities are clarified in writing as acceptable, that the Board consider exercising caution and only allow these activities outdoors. 

Motion 2 – Deferred to 2021 September 28 Board Meeting 
That the Chair write a letter to the local Chief Medical Officers of Health, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and the Minister of Education affirming that the board supports COVID-19 vaccines be added to the list of compulsory vaccinations for all eligible students, as advocated by the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association. 

Motion 3 – Withdrawn 
That the Board develop a mandatory vaccination policy and procedure for all employees, trustees and frequent visitors. The board include within its administrative procedure a timeline by which employees, trustees and frequent visitors must be vaccinated in order to comply with the policy. The policy include a course of action to be taken should an individual refuse to comply with this policy. 

That TVDSB will continue to require a medical note (Physician or Nurse Practitioner) to be exempt from this policy for medical reasons. The policy will comply with all human rights legislation. 

Motion 4 – Carried 
That the Board write a letter to the Minister of Education requesting that the Minister provide to all education staff Health Canada approved respirators for daily PPE use. 

That Education staff that obtain their own Health Canada approved respirators be permitted to wear these in the workplace, provided staff follow the application and removal guidelines stipulated by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS). Staff will continue to be supplied with the Ministry approved PPE. 


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