Catholic school division in Lethbridge demands vaccine mandate in letter to premier – Lethbridge

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Lethbridgeโ€™s Holy Spirit Catholic School Division is demanding immediate action from the province, requesting that the Alberta government implement a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy across all Alberta schools in a recent letter to Premier Jason Kenney.

The letter from Holy Spirit board of trustees chair Bob Spitzig โ€” addressed to Kenney, the ministers of health and education, Dr. Deena Hinshaw and a number of MLAs โ€” is dated Oct. 8, 2021, and asks that the provincial government take responsibility for the health of students, instead of putting the onus on school divisions.

Read more:
Calgary Catholic school trustees approve mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for staff

โ€œWe are not the health experts. We have been dependent upon the health experts all the way through this pandemic,โ€ Spitzig told Global News.

โ€œWe feel itโ€™s only right that the government take lead in this. That way, we have one consistent policy through Alberta.โ€

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The letter details the ways in which school division are โ€œill-equippedโ€ to effectively implement and enforce mandatory vaccination programs, and continues in part:

โ€œWithout formal direction from the Alberta government, a climate of mistrust, polarization, factiousness and contention between school employers and employees, parents and other stakeholders is created; a negative climate which will ultimately affect the education of our students.โ€


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NDP accuse Alberta government of withholding COVID-19 info from parents


NDP accuse Alberta government of withholding COVID-19 info from parents

The Holy Spirit division has announced its own mandatory vaccination requirement in the meantime; as of Oct. 25, all staff, visitors, contractors, volunteers and personnel from community agencies who enter school buildings will have to provide proof of full vaccination or participate in a regular, rapid testing program.

Read more:
Alberta to reinstate COVID-19 contact tracing in schools

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The requirement does not apply to students, since currently children under 12 are still not eligible for COVID-19 vaccines; and under the Education Act, every child in Alberta is entitled to have access to an education program.


Click to play video: 'AHS CEO strongly advising parents to get eligible children vaccinated against COVID-19'







AHS CEO strongly advising parents to get eligible children vaccinated against COVID-19


AHS CEO strongly advising parents to get eligible children vaccinated against COVID-19 โ€“ Sep 23, 2021

Spitzig says the decision to require vaccination for adults in schools was not a contentious one for the board of trustees.

โ€œWe had a meeting last Friday with all of the trustees, and we were all in favour of putting this mandate in place, and the sooner the better,โ€ Spitzig said.

โ€œI think most of the school boards will be going towards mandating the vaccines, but they would rather see the government mandate it.โ€

Read more:
Protest held in Lethbridge against mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for front-line workers

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The letter from Spitzig said: โ€œThe government has a duty and responsibility to maintain public health, and in order for schools to operate efficiently and effectively, it is the obligation of this government to step up and administer those measures, the same measures that have been established by other provinces.โ€


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Alberta education minister announces phased approach to reintroduction of COVID-19 notification at schools


Alberta education minister announces phased approach to reintroduction of COVID-19 notification at schools โ€“ Oct 5, 2021

The press secretary of Education Minister Adriana LaGrange sent a statement in response to Global News on Thursday, saying that the province is not the employer of school staff in Alberta, and thus has no direct legislative authority to require school authorities to mandate vaccination policies.

The statement continued: โ€œOn Oct. 5, the ministers of health and education wrote an open letter to school authorities, strongly encouraging them to adopt proof-of-vaccination policies for their staff. However, as the employer, school authorities ultimately make decisions for their staff.โ€

Spitzig says the division has not received a response from the province, and he doesnโ€™t anticipate one.

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โ€œOur government has been dragging its feet for so long now during this pandemic, Iโ€™m not expecting a reply back any time soon.โ€

Read more:
COVID-19: All Lethbridge city staff must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 15

Lethbridge-West MLA Shannon Phillips says the situation is another example of the UCP failing to provide leadership.

โ€œItโ€™s really unfortunate that itโ€™s falling to school boards to have to beg the province just to show up to work and respond to COVID properly,โ€ Phillips said.

The Lethbridge School Division told Global News that, at this time, is not considering sending a similar letter to the government.


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More than 50 Alberta schools have declared COVID-19 outbreaks


More than 50 Alberta schools have declared COVID-19 outbreaks โ€“ Oct 7, 2021




ยฉ 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.





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