The Toronto District School Board has announced a new deadline for when staff must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, allowing them to have both shots by mid-December.
The board had long stuck to the November 1 deadline, when it expected all employees to be fully vaccinated, but on Wednesday it offered some leeway.
TDSB spokesman Ryan Bird said implementation would begin on November 1 and compliance measures would be spread over the next three weeks.
This is being done, he said, “to support service levels for employees, students and our community – including ensuring an appropriate number of staff to address any shortfalls resulting from the implementation of the process – and medical and To review cult-based housing requests.”
Under the new deadline, employees who have not disclosed their vaccination status by November 1 will be placed on unpaid leave of absence the next day. Meanwhile, those who disclosed that they have not been vaccinated or received only one dose of the vaccine have until November 21 to follow the procedure. Till then, they should continue to do rapid antigen test twice weekly and upload the results.
Employees who receive their first dose by November 19 have one more month to complete their second dose. Finally, those who refuse to be vaccinated by November 21 will be placed on unpaid leave of absence.
Individuals who have applied for medical or cult-based housing must continue to undergo rapid testing until their request is approved. If denied, they have 45 days to adhere to full vaccination or will be placed on unpaid leave of absence.
“We will continue to work with staff to support them in this process and do our best to avoid any unnecessary service impacts for students, staff and community members,” Bird said.
The Toronto District School Board – the largest in the country, and the largest in North America – has 39,845 employees, including teachers, administrators, and support staff.
As of 22 October, 85 percent (or 33,917 individuals) had confirmed having been fully vaccinated and four percent (1,740) had not yet submitted a verification. In all, five people had cleared the medical exemption.
TDSB has repeatedly approached employees to complete the verification form. This assumes that many who have not yet completed the form are casual employees and may not have worked for the board yet in this academic year.
The provincial government has been urged by opposition critics to make vaccinations mandatory for all people who work in schools, but has so far resisted – warning of mass layoffs – and instead allowing boards to make their own decisions. Gave.
In a newsletter for parents this week, TDSB Trustee Shelley Laskin said the board will “continue to help facilitate vaccination opportunities and clinics within our schools, along with local health partners as we have in recent months.”
It said “employees have decided to continue implementing the mandatory vaccination process beyond the November 1 deadline. While employees who have not submitted their verification or rapid antigen test results, they will be given home assignments without pay till November 2. will be kept on
The decision, he said, was “based on feedback from system leaders, exceeding the time required to review a significant number of waiver requests, and to ensure continuity in the learning and care of students and critical business processes.”
In the legislature on Tuesday, NDP Education Critic Marit Stiles noted that the Northwest Catholic District School Board has joined a handful of boards voting to implement a mandatory vaccine policy.
“He followed boards such as the Toronto District School Board, Ottawa-Carlton and Superior North Catholic, which, in the absence of leadership from this government, have taken matters into their own hands,” Styles said.
He criticized the government for “a patchwork of vaccine policies in our schools, one that leaves students with more or less protection depending on where they live in this province.”
Education Minister Stephen Lessey said Ontario “has the highest vaccination rate for youth in the country. We are also proud to have one of the lowest cases for young people in Canada.”
However, he said, a mandate in schools “will mean that we will potentially eliminate 50,000 workers in the education sector … I think we need to engage with realism and ensure that our schools Have a double test of any staff member entering the school, a negative antigen test, to make sure they are safe, that our schools may have staff, and that these children go to school every day can continue.”
The minister’s office says there are more than 312,000 education workers in the province.
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