COVID-19: Guelph school boards release staff vaccination data

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The public and Catholic school boards for Guelph and Wellington County have both released a summary of their COVID-19 vaccination rates among staff and trustees.

The Ontario government announced in August that all school boards must collect and post that information on their website by Sept. 15.

The Upper Grand District School Board says the vaccine mandate applies to nearly 4,900 employees and trustees, and as of Thursday, about 80 per cent of these individuals attested to being fully vaccinated.

The Wellington Catholic District School Board says of the 1,330 individuals under the policy, 81.6 per cent have attested to being fully vaccinated.

The public board is reporting that 12 individuals have provided a documented medical reason for not being fully vaccinated, while the Catholic board says one individual so far has a medical exemption.

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Meanwhile, 563 individuals with Upper Grand and 161 with Wellington Catholic have not submitted their attestation form and will have to undergo regular rapid testing.

The vaccination policy also includes those who work within the boards but are not employed by them, such as bus drivers, volunteers and contractors.

For the public board, this works out to 1,520 people, with 1,300 individuals having been fully vaccinated and three medical waivers.

The Catholic board reports 73 per cent of these other workers and volunteers are fully vaccinated and three have a documented medical reason for not getting jabbed.

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A memo sent to boards on Monday from Ontario’s deputy education minister stated that unvaccinated staff members must take twice-weekly rapid COVID-19 tests.

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Testing is to be done at home and no more than 48 hours before coming to work.

The memo said there should be at least three days between tests, and lists Monday and Thursday, Friday and Tuesday, or Sunday and Wednesday as examples of a regular schedule for testing. They will have to submit their tests manually or through an app.

The boards have until Sept. 27 to implement the rules, which includes an educational video for those who are not vaccinated.

In emails sent to Global News, spokespeople with Wellington Catholic and Upper Grand both said the rapid antigen testing kits are provided by the province.

Upper Grand said on its website that it is working with staff who are not vaccinated to support the rapid antigen process.

It also added that some staff members have been unable to complete the attestation, but they will be assisted in doing so in the coming days.

—With files from The Canadian Press and Global News’ Kevin Nielsen

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