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Burnaby school board rejects mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for staff

'Schools low-risk settings for transmission' says letter citing public health advice

The Burnaby school board has joined a growing number of B.C. boards that have rejected mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for staff.

The board announced Wednesday it had made the decision after “careful consideration of information provided by public health and discussions with partner groups.”

“As we have in the past, we relied on guidance from our local health authority,” read the announcement. “We considered information shared by Fraser Health with us last month where they assured us that the high level of vaccination in Burnaby means schools can operate safely without a mandate. In making this decision, we also reviewed the K-12 Sector Guidelines for Vaccination Policies provided by the Ministry of Education, BC Public School Employers’ Association and the provincial advisory group.”

The notice went on to say the board was continuing to encourage all staff who can to get vaccinated.

“We thank everyone in our school communities for all they have done and continue to do to support the health, safety and well-being of students, staff, families and each other,” stated the notice.

The province has left the decision of whether or not to make vaccines mandatory for staff up to individual boards.

The Burnaby board’s decision comes after trustees in Vancouver, Surrey, Abbotsford, New Westminster and Chilliwack also rejected vaccine mandates for staff.

In a letter to parents Wednesday, Burnaby trustees reiterated the reason for their decision.

“Public health officials have told us that the multiple layers of protection that we already have in place help keep schools low-risk settings for transmission,” the letter said.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor
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