Here’s what some people think of # sd48’s vaccine decision

The BC Principals and Vice Principals Association says it is difficult to find relaxed staff to fill absenteeism.

When SD48’s decides against a vaccine mandate, the BC Principals and Vice Principals Association says that potential staff shortages were a major concern for its members across the province.

Recently, the Sea to Sky School District announced that it would not impose COVID-19 vaccines on its staff.

As part of the rationale for its decision, the school board noted Howe Sound’s high vaccination rate.

As of November 18, of the vaccine-eligible persons aged 12 and over, 97% have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 92% have received two doses of the vaccine.

The chairman of the BC Principals and Vice Principals Association told The Chief that another major consideration is the staff level.

Darren Danyluk said his organization was part of the advisory group that helped draft the K-12 sector’s guidelines for vaccination policies, which the school board consulted when making the decision.

He said the guidelines ask officials to look at vaccination rates in their school districts and assess their capacity to offer educational programming.

“Every morning starts for a principal with a little game of Tetris. They figure out how to cover the absence,” said Darren Danyluk.

“So every day starts already with this struggle, and many days we can not fill the absence we already have, so when mandates for vaccines began to become an issue, that was what was most important in the minds of our people. If that were to happen then what was the plan? ”

He said he could not talk about the level of staffing in SD48, but he noted that there are problems finding random replacement staff even in the Vancouver area, where staffing is generally higher.

“Every day, Vancovuer has vacancies they can not fill because they do not have enough random employees, so I can not imagine [SD]48 also has enough relaxed staff, ”said Danyluk.

“I do not know anywhere in the province that is in a good situation with random staff for teachers on duty.”

He said safety is the number one priority and vaccines are one way to achieve that. However, there is a need to keep schools open.

“If the whole purpose of the vaccination mandate is for safety, as well as to keep schools open, if we end up having to close a school due to a functional challenge of putting people in front of the students, then you have in a way defeated one of the principles that is to keep schools open and accessible to families, ”said Danyluk.

Local teachers have responded to SD48’s decision by following the provincial BCTF line.

“The BCTF’s position is that they will not oppose any mandatory vaccinations for teachers,” said the local president of the Sea to Sky Teachers’ Association, April Lowe.

She said the Sea to Sky division takes the same position.

“I’m a local president and that’s why I support all the BCTF’s decisions,” Lowe said. “The BCTF is disappointed that it was not a provincial mandate. As a union, we do not separate our members, and so what happens in Chilliwack should happen in Squamish, should happen on Vancouver Island – all members should be treated equally.”

In August, BCTF President Teri Mooring said the union would not oppose a mandate for K-12 workers as long as privacy was protected and members in need of medical exemptions were accommodated.

But in October, Mooring issued a statement that appeared to have a stronger pro-vaccine stance.

“The BCTF’s Executive Committee met again last night, discussed the issues and took the position that the Federation supports provincial mandatory vaccines in the K-12 system for school staff and volunteers,” Mooring said in a press release.

“This is about keeping everyone safe – you, your family, your colleagues and your students. We must all do everything we can to protect each other. Please be vaccinated.” In the same release,

Mooring also said she was concerned about a district-by-district mandate.

“That’s the wrong approach,” she said.

As of September 2020, the Sea to Sky Teachers Association represents 473 teachers.

CUPE 779, which represents support staff at SD48, did not respond to requests for comment.

However, the provincial CUPE president has spoken out in favor of mandatory vaccinations.

“The BC government, which implements mandatory vaccinations across the public service, makes sense as they are the best proven measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our society,” Karen Ranalletta said in a press release dated October 6. “Given the increase in COVID cases at our schools, we also think it makes sense to apply this mandate to the K-12 system.”

As of September 2020, there are 308 support staff in the Sea to Sky School District.

There are about 5,000 students in the school district.

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