Get double vaccinated by Nov 1st – or else

Disciplinary action, termination could follow for failure to comply

Get double vaccinated by Nov 1st – or else

Canada's largest school board has unveiled a new policy requiring all public-school staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by November 1 or risk losing their jobs. The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) announced the move on Tuesday, with the mandate set to impact school board employees, trustees, and transportation drivers.

"This is an important step in the TDSB's direction to keep students and staff as safe as possible during the pandemic,” added TDSB chair Alexander Brown. “By requiring staff, trustees and others to be vaccinated, we reduce the impact that COVID cases have on our classrooms, schools and communities.”

Those who refuse to be vaccinated by November 1 may be subject to "disciplinary action, up to and including termination for employees," according to the policy. Exemptions can be requested based on medical or religious grounds. However, those who are exempt from having the vaccine will have to undergo regular testing. All duty to accommodate requests must be balanced against “the Board's obligations to protect the health and safety of employees and students”.

Read more: Toronto's first black police chief to step down

As of Tuesday, approximately 94% of the 40,000 TDSB staff members have already been vaccinated, according to the board. The mandate took effect after trustees for the TDSB voted in favour of requiring vaccinations. Children under 12 are not yet required to be vaccinated.

"By reducing the number of positive COVID-19 cases introduced to our schools, we are better able to protect our school communities and ensure fewer disruptions to student learning and well-being," added Colleen Russell-Rawlins, TDSB's director of education.

Prior to the TDSB, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board also required its employees to be fully vaccinated by September 30.

"Employees who are not vaccinated and who do not initiate the vaccine process by September 30th will be subject to additional employment conditions/restrictions which may include being placed on a Leave Without Pay," the board mandated.

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