Langley school district offices. (Langley Advance Times file)

Langley school district offices. (Langley Advance Times file)

Langley school board considers vaccine mandate for all staff

The board of education is talking to employees and parents

Langley board of education is reviewing the possibility of a vaccine mandate for all staff.

On Tuesday, the BC Teachers’ Federation released results of a recent survey, which found 94 per cent of educators were fully vaccinated, one per cent had received one dose, while two per cent remained unvaccinated, and two per cent did not respond to the question.

The survey also found 82 per cent support a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine for adult educators in the province.

READ MORE: BCTF survey finds 94% of teachers fully vaccinated

On Thursday, in a letter posted to the Langley School District’s website, board chair Rod Ross said they are “carefully considering the potential for a vaccine mandate in our school system.”

“The board will consult with public health experts, employee partner groups, and the District Parent Advisory Committee on this labour relations issue,” Ross writes in the letter.

“Moving forward, the board will work with the district staff to determine the feasibility of a vaccine mandate for staff.”

Tanya Kerr, president of the Langley Teachers’ Association (LTA), said similar to the BCTF, the association is in support of a COVID-19 vaccine “mandate in the K-12 school system for school staff and volunteers as long as privacy rights are protected and members who need medical exemptions are accommodated.”

The LTA has not surveyed members regarding vaccination rates, but Kerr said she has received “a few emails from members who are not vaccinated and are concerned with the potential mandate.”

The LTA is scheduled to hold a meeting on Monday (Nov. 1) to discuss how the association will be involved in discussions with the school board, but it remains unclear for now.

To guide the board’s decision-making they are reviewing the provincial advisory committee set of K-12 Sector Guidelines for Vaccination Polices, which was released by the Ministry of Education to school districts on Friday, Oct. 22.

The school board did not provide a timeline of the review process.

“The Langley Board of Education strongly encourages all eligible students, staff and community members to get vaccinated,” Ross said. “In alignment with public health, the board believes vaccines are the most effective way to reduce the risk of COVID-19.”

As of Tuesday (Oct. 26), 88 per cent of residents in Langley 12 years and older had received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, 83 per cent had received two doses, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control (BC CDC).

Residents in the 12-17 age group were lagging slightly behind other eligible groups in Langley, with 77 per cent having received two doses as of Oct. 26, while 80 per cent in the 18-49 age group and 88 per cent in the 50-plus age group had received two doses.

Langley Advance Times has reached to the Langley Teachers’ Association for comment.

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