Surrey school board says it won't mandate staff vaccines

Nov 2 2021, 4:34 pm

After considering the pros and cons of a vaccine mandate, the Surrey Board of Education has come to a decision.

The Board issued a release on Tuesday, November 2, providing details of its decision to not mandate COVID-19 vaccines for staff.

Right now, the province has left it up to individual school districts to decide if vaccines should be mandatory for staff, teachers, and volunteers.

Now, Surrey is joining other districts like New Westminster in announcing they will not require staff to have proof of vaccination, but they still encourage people to get vaccinated.

Terry Allen, vice chair of the Surrey Board of Education, said in a release that their decision to not implement a mandate considered information from sources like Fraser Health, the Ministry of Education, and the BC Public School Employers’ Association.

“Schools are a low-risk setting for transmission and public health experts have assured us that our schools are safe and that we do not need 100% vaccination rates for safe operation,” said Allen.

Some of the reasons the board gave for their decision include high community vaccination rates and low in-school transmission, saying they paid close attention to the guidance of public health.

“In a presentation to the Board, public health officials stated that if there were a vaccine mandate for all staff, efficacy in minimizing transmission would be limited, particularly in areas of high vaccination coverage,” said the Board in their release.

“They also cautioned that a mandate may exacerbate inequities (lower vaccination rates among low-income, racialized minorities) and further entrench those who are opposed to vaccinations.”

Other districts, like the Vancouver School Board, have yet to announce their decisions.

Sarah AndersonSarah Anderson

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