The Ministry of Education has released guidelines for school districts that might be considering implementing a vaccination policy. These guidelines build on the existing K-12 health and safety measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the schools and communities.
The K-12 Sector Guidelines for Vaccination Policies are online, and attached with this bulletin.
CUPE participated in the development of these guidelines, along with all other stakeholders in the K-12 sector.
This guidelines document is not a vaccination policy. It offers guidance for school districts that want to create a vaccination policy. It provides a roadmap to ensure that school districts respect privacy rules, legal requirements, consult with their employee groups and respect collective agreement rights.
Individual school districts can now decide whether they want to develop and implement a policy or not. The guidelines recommend school districts first attempt other measures to increase vaccination rates, in collaboration with ‘employee groups’ (i.e. CUPE, other unions), before exploring a vaccine policy.
The BC Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) is currently working to create a framework policy that could be adopted by school districts that want a vaccination policy. This would ensure consistency across the province so that there is not a patchwork of different approaches and standards.
CUPE continues to support vaccination as the best way to end the pandemic and protect everyone in the school system. CUPE is also focused on representing our members and protecting their rights within the bounds of the law, human rights legislation, privacy rules, and our collective agreements.
We will fight any unjust terminations and seek alternative accommodations wherever possible. It is our fundamental position that CUPE members who cannot be vaccinated for protected human rights reasons must be accommodated. CUPE is also continues to advocate for school districts to expand other safety measures that promote clean and healthy schools, such as rapid testing and daytime custodial services.
View PDF of the bulletin.