At a special meeting held on Monday night, the Waterloo Region District School Board passed a motion asking that a letter be sent to the Ministry of Education to add COVID-19 vaccines to the list of mandatory vaccines for eligible students.
The move was not passed unanimously as the vote came out with seven in favour, two opposed and one abstaining.
Trustee Cindy Watson, who abstained from voting, asked that the motion be delayed for public consultation but her motion was defeated.
“I would have liked some notice to contemplate these motions,” she said.
“So with this letter, are we stating that if parents choose not to get their children vaccinated, they are not welcome?” Watson asked.
“We currently have vaccines that are mandatory for our students,” trustee Laurie Miller responded.
“In the case of those parents who choose, for whatever reason, not to vaccinate their children, there’s protocols in place for them to follow.”
She was the one who initially brought forth the motion during Monday night’s meeting, noting that a process was in place to allow for people who could not be vaccinated for religious or medical reasons.
“It’s not a change to any of the processes we are doing, the only change is we are adding COVID-19 to the list of vaccines that are already mandatory vaccines that our students must have,” Miller noted.
At the moment, this would only affect those who are aged 12 and up, as younger children are not currently eligible to be vaccinated.
According to Waterloo Region’s vaccine task force, 78.49 per cent of those between the ages of 12 and 17 have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 67.18 per cent are fully vaccinated.