The return of sports and extra-curricular activities to public schools this fall may come with a significant COVID-19 vaccine caveat.
The expectation is students and staff will require vaccine certification in order to access non-essential public places.
That would include everything from a school field trip to the art gallery to sports teams competing in the Lower Mainland at events where hotel and restaurant access is required.
On Sept. 13, everone over the age of 12 will be required to provide proof of at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine to access certain businesses and events, and be fully vaccinated as of Oct. 24.
Kevin Kaardal, Central Okanagan Public Schools superintendent/CEO, said determining how the extra-curricular event vaccination policy will shake out for schools is still a work in progress.
“More discussion has to happen with the provincial steering committee and minsitry of health on what that means,” said Kaardal.
The issue arose during Kaardal’s presentation to the planning and facilities committee meeting Wednesday about the school district’s still evolving communicable disease plan to begin the 2021-22 school year, based on the provincial recommendations set out by the provincial health officer and localized directives set out by Interior Health in response to a COVID-19 spike that has occurred over the last month.
Kaardal said while pending further clarification, his belief is there will be no vaccination certification exemptions for students and staff involved in extra-curricular activities.
“It is not likely but there has been no confirmation as of yet on that,” Kaardal said.
Efforts by Black Press Media to seek further clarification from Interior Health generated an email response that there are no exemptions to the BC Vaccine Card.
“If students/staff want to participate in activities that require proof of vaccination (like team dinner at a restaurant) they would need to be vaccinated,” said the email statement.
Further comment was forward to the B.C. Ministry of Health as “they are sorting out the finer details.”
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