The Saint Thomas Aquinas Roman (STAR) Catholic School Division will join other school divisions across the province as they adopt a mandatory proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test result procedure for all staff.
The decision was announced Oct. 27 and comes as a response to a recent joint letter from the Ministers of Education and Health to all school divisions in Alberta, which encouraged the adoption of such a procedure as part of the efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“Administration underwent an extensive review and consultation process in making this decision, and we adopted this procedure with the health and safety of our school communities at the top of mind,” said superintendent Charlie Bouchard.
“It’s important that the division take any steps necessary and use the tools available to us to protect our staff, students, and families to the best of our abilities.”
Under the new procedure all staff, including substitute teachers, casual, and support staff, must be either fully vaccinated or present proof of a negative COVID-19 test result every 72 hours as of Jan. 3, 2022.
The procedure does not apply to students or parents, except for parents who are volunteering in the school, who are considered workers under provincial legislation. The division has committed to reviewing the procedure in a timely manner as the pandemic evolves.
“This has been an unprecedented and difficult time for divisions across the province,” said Bouchard.
“As always, we are grateful for continued support and understanding from our partners as we navigate these challenging decisions.”
Schools and staff in Lacombe, Beaumont, Drayton Valley, Leduc, Ponoka, and Wetaskiwin will be affected.