Toronto District School Board Reveals Details of New Compulsory Vaccine Policy

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The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) has laid out exactly how it will roll out its new compulsory vaccination policy.

The school board released an 11-page document Tuesday evening, titled ‘COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccine Procedure,’ revealing key dates, disciplinary measures and exemption protocols for its new policy.

The policy applies to all school board employees, including daily and long-term occasional teachers and casual education workers, student transportation drivers and school board trustees.

As per the document, all TDSB workers were required to disclose their vaccination status by September 7. They now have till November 1 to have received two doses of a COVID vaccine.

The board said about 83% of staff responded to the survey and of those who did respond, around 94% showed that they had been fully vaccinated.

Till November 1, those who are not yet fully vaccinated will have to comply with regular COVID-19 testing and offer proof of a negative result to attend a TDSB workplace. The tests will be offered to persons at no cost, according to the TDSB.

Staff who aren’t fully vaccinated or who have not disclosed their vaccination status must complete a compulsory education program supplied by the Ontario government no later than 2 weeks after the board grants access to the program.

The education program will be offered as a video by the Ministry of Education. Staff will be required to review the video outside of working hours.

As per the board, staff undergoing the education program are still required to meet the full vaccination requirement by November 1.

This policy additionally extends to those who visit board premises more often, such as persons on internships, students on educational placements, co-op placements, volunteers, apprenticeship programs, contractors and permit holders, those who offer professional services to kids at school and “other members of organizations not related to the board but who nevertheless work on or are invited onto board premises,” says the board.

The school board says it will offer exemptions on the basis of medical, disability or religious reasons.

“An employee who is requesting an exemption on the basis of a medical condition must provide the Board’s Disability Management Office with a letter from a licenced physician or registered nurse practitioner … clearly stating the reason why the individual should be exempted from receiving a vaccine, and duration of such exemption,” states the document.

A specific diagnosis or disclosure of a medical condition isn’t required except under “exceptional circumstances or where necessary in order to provide accommodation,” says the board.

As per the document, this letter must have been offered before September 7 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Those who fail to comply with the new protocol could be subject to “administrative or disciplinary action, up to and including termination from their employment,” says the board.

Toronto District School Board Director of Education, Colleen Russell-Rawlins, took to social media on Tuesday evening to address the new protocols.

“While we recognize that deciding to be vaccinated is a deeply personal one, by reducing the number of positive COVID-19 cases introduced into our schools, we are better able to protect our school communities and ensure fewer disruptions to student learning and well-being,” Russell-Rawlins wrote.

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