The Louis Riel School Division (LRSD) applauds the Manitoba Teachers' Society's (MTS) decision to call upon the provincial government to require all public school employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This is the position LRSD has been advocating to the provincial government since July.
As shared in a previous message, LRSD has already been in discussion with the leadership of local unionized employee groups regarding the voluntary disclosure of COVID-19 vaccination status. In light of the MTS announcement, we have again reached out to these valued partners. At this time, the Louis Riel Teachers' Association has expressed their support for a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for LRSD employees. As always, all employee groups will be consulted as policy and procedures are developed on this topic, as well as mask usage. LRSD is liaising with provincial and federal officials to explore the possibility of rapid testing for unvaccinated individuals.
For us, mandates related to mask usage and staff COVID-19 vaccination cannot come at the expense of building community, compassion and dialogue. Draft policies will be shared at a Special Meeting of the LRSD Board of Trustees on Tuesday, August 24 at 5:00 p.m. where they will receive first reading. An online survey will offer an avenue for broader community input on the draft policies and the related return to school plan. The LRSD Board of Trustees will review community feedback before considering the policies for second and third readings at its first regular meeting of the school year on Tuesday, September 7 at 6:30 p.m.
These developing mandates and the supporting policies are not intended to be barriers; rather, they are a means to promote safety and incentivize collective behaviours to not only start school in September in a safe and welcoming way, but also to sustain that effort and stay in school despite the fourth wave.
-Christian Michalik, Superintendent