COVID-19: Ottawa-Carleton board passes staff vaccine mandate, first shots due by Sept. 30

Roughly 95 per cent of staff who responded to an initial survey of vaccination status at the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board said they were fully vaccinated. Some 15 per cent of staff have yet to attest to their status. Craig Lord / Global News

All teachers, staff and volunteers at the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 during the fall term, with the first shot coming no later than Sept. 30.

The OCDSB board of trustees voted unanimously to make the policy official for all staff at a short emergency meeting on Wednesday night.

The board outlined and gave initial approvals to the plan Tuesday night but ran just short of time to ratify the decision, warranting a second consecutive day of meetings.

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Staff will not have to be vaccinated for the first day of school, set to start on Sept. 9; first doses are due by Sept. 30, with the second shot coming as soon as is medically possible and available.

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Typical exemptions for medical and human rights reasons will apply.

Ontario government policy mandates that staff must declare their vaccination status by Sept. 7, with regular antigen testing needed for the unvaccinated.

The OCDSB board moved previously to mandate vaccinations for all school volunteers, such as parents acting as field trip chaperones.

Kindergarten students will also be expected to wear masks in the classroom, per a policy passed at Tuesday’s meeting.

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