All BC school staff are required to demonstrate their COVID-19 immunization status to school districts when required by a medical health official, per a public health order.
But Surrey School Superintendent Jordan Tinney says it doesn’t change anything for the district.
“No change, nothing,” Tinney explained in a video on Tuesday (January 18).
He added that the board made the decision not to pursue proof of vaccination status unless requested to do so.
Back in November, the school district decided against requiring staff to have COVID-19 vaccines, citing high vaccination rates in Surrey and White Rock.
Monday’s order was quietly uploaded to the provincial government’s website without any formal notice.
“An employer must require every employee to provide proof of vaccination and keep records of every employee’s vaccination status,” the order said.
“An employee must provide their employer with proof of vaccination upon request by their employer and by the date set by their employer, and if the employee’s vaccination status changes, the employee must provide that information and his or her vaccination card to the employer promptly, and the employer must maintain the records.” update on the employee’s vaccination status.”
In addition, the order states that school districts must report the immunization status of their school staff “aggregated, not individually identifying by school” to the medical health officer when the latter requests the information.
When a school or district takes action to “prevent, contain, or respond” to infection at the school, employees who choose not to report vaccination status will be treated as unvaccinated.
On Tuesday, the provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry said the order was issued to help medical health officials understand the immunization status of school staff.
She added that it also helps health officials determine which schools are most at risk from COVID-19 outbreaks.
Meanwhile, Tinney also provided an update on rapid testing and ventilator upgrades.
The province previously announced rapid tests for staff, Tinney said, and the district hopes to receive them soon. But the district has to repackage the tests, so it’s two per adult, and then they have to figure out how to distribute those tests.
“We believe this is just the first phase of a larger rollout that will also include students.”
For the aeration, Tinney said the district received confirmation of aeration funding. He added that the district is figuring out how to allocate the funds to each school.