Central Okanagan Board of Education Chairperson Moyra Baxter with school district Superintendent/CEO Kevin Kaardal. (File photo)

Central Okanagan trustees back off COVID vaccine mandate

Public health order changes need for staff mandate

The Central Okanagan Board of Education has placed a pause on the implementation of the vaccination mandate and testing program for staff and trustees.

The decision comes after the trustees met for an in-camera meeting Tuesday to discuss the impact of the public health regulations announced last week by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

“As we approached Spring Break, and after considering the new provincial health orders regarding mask wearing and vaccine passports, the board decided to pause the implementation of the vaccine mandate process it started in January,” said Moyra Baxter, the board of education chairperson, in a news release Wednesday.

“Should the situation change, the board will reconsider its options.”

The move comes after the board went through weeks of heated public debate about initiating the vaccination mandate measure dating back to January.

Baxter added, “the school board remains committed to encouraging everyone who is eligible to be vaccinated and supports all employees and students in their choice regarding the wearing of masks.”

Students returning to school after Spring Break will no longer face a mandatory mask-wearing requirement, with the vaccination passport no longer required to access public indoor events as of April 8. The requirement for vaccines in post-secondary residences will also be removed.

READ MORE: Central Okanagan board of education adopts vaccine mandate for staff

Central Okanagan Regional District