COVID-19 Vaccinations - SUSPENDED March 2, 2022
This regulation outlines expectations for Division employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, unless exempt on the basis of a protected legal ground or compliant with additional COVID-19 testing requirements as outlined in this regulation.
Contractors, on-site partners, volunteers (including parent and guardian volunteers) and adults attending extra-curricular Division events must also be fully vaccinated or compliant with additional COVID-19 testing requirements as outlined in this regulation. This regulation does not apply to Division students.
Ensuring a safe work and learning environment is a shared responsibility. Edmonton Public Schools has a commitment and statutory responsibility to take all reasonable steps to provide safe and healthy working and learning environments. Public health authorities state that vaccination is one of the most effective ways of reducing COVID-19 transmission and protecting against severe outcomes relating to COVID-19.
This regulation supports and enhances the ongoing measures the Division has implemented and our continued commitment to ensuring all schools and workplaces remain as safe as possible in the context of COVID-19.
Contractor refers to individuals or organizations that have been retained by the Division to provide services in Division buildings (e.g., health care providers, guest speakers, casual employees).
COVID-19 is the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus (including any variant).
COVID-19 test(ing) refers to a:
- rapid antigen test;
- rapid molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test; or
- lab-based PCR test authorized by Health Canada or a lab accreditation body of Alberta and administered by a trained healthcare professional at an Alberta Health Services (AHS) site or private AHS approved site. For the purposes of this regulation, COVID-19 test(ing) does not refer to rapid at home test(ing) or self-administered test(ing).
COVID-19 test certificate is proof of a COVID-19 test result provided by a pharmacy or AHS approved vendor. It must include the individual’s name, date of birth, pharmacy or AHS approved vendor name and contact information, type of COVID-19 test, date of COVID-19 test, result of COVID-19 test and signature and/or name of the pharmacist or healthcare professional administering the test.
COVID-19 vaccine is a vaccine authorized by Health Canada (e.g., Pfizer-BioNTech/comirnaty;
Moderna/Spikevax; Janssen (Johnson & Johnson); AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD/Vaxzevria).
Employee is any individual employed by Edmonton Public Schools on any basis, including full-time, part-time, hourly, supply, permanent, and temporary. For the purposes of this regulation, casual employees are considered contractors, not employees.
Fully vaccinated, as defined by AHS and as may be amended from time to time, means having obtained all required doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, including any required wait period to achieve full vaccine status (e.g., two (2) week period).
Licensed physician is a medical doctor licensed by the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta to practice medicine in Alberta.
On-site partner is any individual or organization who accesses a Division building to deliver services or support programming. This includes but is not limited to tenants, post-secondary students and external researchers.
- External researcher refers to any individual who conducts research involving Division employees or students or using Division resources.
- Post-secondary institution in this regulation refers to any post-secondary institution with students
undergoing field experience in a Division school to develop skills, strategies and professional identity as part of their post-secondary program.
- Tenant refers to an organization that is granted use of a portion of a Division building through a signed agreement including any Joint Use Agreements.
Proof of vaccination means a valid QR Code issued by the Government of Alberta.
Volunteer is a member of the community, including parents and guardians, who, without compensation,
commits to assist the Division or a school with a designated task under the direction and supervision of a Division staff member.
Chief Human Resources Officer is responsible to:
- Ensure this regulation and the supporting processes are implemented and maintained.
Decision Unit (DU) Administrators are responsible to:
- Where applicable, central DU administrators will advise contractors, on-site partners and volunteers of the requirement to comply with this regulation.
- Where applicable, school DU administrators will advise contractors, on-site partners, volunteers and lunchroom employees of the requirement to comply with this regulation and develop in-school processes to ensure compliance.
- Ensure that all employees are aware of the expectations as defined in this regulation.
- Work with Staff Relations to address responses to non-compliance.
Employee Health Services is responsible to:
- Safeguard employee personal information in accordance with Division and provincial requirements relating to retention of information and protection of privacy.
- Review requests for exemption from this regulation, as designated by the Chief Human Resources Officer, and consult as necessary, to make the determination whether the request is approved or denied.
- Support the processes for COVID-19 testing for employees who are not vaccinated.
- Determine appropriate accommodations for Division approved exemptions from this regulation, with consideration of input from the employee, supervisor and Local (where applicable).
- Conduct audits to review employee compliance with the regulation.
- Inform Staff Relations of concerns regarding employee non-compliance with this regulation.
- Work with the third party vendor to coordinate declaration and COVID-19 testing processes.
Employees are responsible to:
- Adhere to this regulation and all other Division protocols relating to COVID-19.
Staff Relations and Labour Relations are responsible to:
- Work with principals and DU administrators to support response to non-compliance.
- Review requests for exemption from this regulation as designated by the Chief Human Resources Officer, and consult as necessary, to make the determination whether the request is approved or denied.
The provincial government has granted school Divisions the authority to exceed provincial requirements and put additional health measures in place in response to local context, with the aim of reducing risk in school communities. Further, the provincial government has encouraged all public employers, and specifically school authorities, to introduce policies regarding employee vaccination requirements.
In circumstances where Division COVID-19 vaccination and testing requirements exceed provincial requirements, contractors, employees, on-site partners, volunteers (including parent and guardian volunteers), and adults attending extra-curricular Division events must adhere to Division requirements.
At times, immediate action may be required to ensure continued safety of staff and students. In these circumstances, the Superintendent and/or the Chief Human Resources Officer has the authority to immediately introduce new measures or change existing requirements related to COVID-19 vaccination and testing, including those in this regulation. In the event that this regulation cannot be immediately updated, the Superintendent and/or Chief Human Resources Officer will communicate any changes and new requirements to individuals who are subject to this regulation. Any such changes and new requirements will be effective immediately upon communication to the individuals who are subject to this regulation using established Division communication processes. The regulation will be updated as soon as is operationally feasible.
- REQUIREMENT TO BE FULLY VACCINATED
- Employees are required to be fully vaccinated on or before December 31, 2021, or compliant with additional COVID-19 testing requirements as outlined in Section C.
- Employees who are unable to be fully vaccinated for protected grounds as defined by the Alberta Human Rights Act, RSA 2000, c.A-25.5, as amended from time to time (AHRA), must apply for an exemption to this requirement as outlined in Section D.
- Subject to Division approved exemptions, new employees joining the Division must be fully vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination prior to their first day of work.
- DISCLOSURE AND PROOF OF VACCINATION STATUS
- All employees are required to disclose current vaccination status using a declaration form provided by the Division and, if fully vaccinated, provide proof of vaccination.
- Employees who are requesting a Division exemption are still required to disclose their vaccination status. However, if an exemption is approved by the Division, in alignment with Section D, the employee will be exempt from the requirement to be fully vaccinated.
- Employees whose vaccination status changes are required to submit an updated declaration form and proof of vaccination, if fully vaccinated.
- Proof of vaccination received from outside Alberta will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
- Nothwithstanding section B(1), lunchroom employees who are hired on January 10, 2022 or later are required to provide proof of vaccination status to the individual(s) designated by the principal.
- UNVACCINATED EMPLOYEES WITHOUT A DIVISION APPROVED EXEMPTION
- Employees may take up to three (3) hours off as paid time, if required, during the workday to get a COVID-19 vaccine dose.
- Employees without a Division approved exemption who have disclosed that they are not fully vaccinated or who have not disclosed their vaccination status as required, will be required to undergo regular COVID-19 testing in alignment with this regulation.
- Employees must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test through a COVID-19 test certificate prior to scheduled work. COVID-19 test results are only valid for 72 hours from the time of COVID-19 testing. COVID-19 test results must be submitted by the employee
immediately after they receive the results.
- COVID-19 testing must be arranged by the employee outside of the employee’s work hours and is at the employee’s sole cost.
- Employees with a current Division approved accommodation that includes remote working arrangements that do not involve attendance to Division buildings are not required to participate in COVID-19 testing requirements for the duration of their accommodation.
- Positive COVID-19 test results for unvaccinated employees
- Employees who receive a positive result through any approved COVID-19 test, including a rapid PCR, rapid antigen or lab-based PCR test must follow AHS requirements which include immediate isolation.
- Employees who have received a positive COVID-19 result through a rapid COVID-19 test are encouraged to confirm this result through a privately paid or AHS administered lab-based PCR test, as available, and in alignment with direction from Employee Health Services.
- If an employee has received a positive result from a lab-based PCR test, COVID-19 testing upon return to work is not required for 90 days as long as the individual does not exhibit COVID-19 symptoms.
- AHS has indicated that some individuals may continue to test positive for up to 90 days after their infection.
- If an employee does not obtain a lab-based PCR test, or obtains a negative result from a lab-based PCR test, COVID-19 testing is required to continue work as per Section C(2).
- EXEMPTION FOR PROTECTED GROUNDS UNDER HUMAN RIGHTS LEGISLATION
- Employees who believe they are not able to comply with the requirement to be fully vaccinated must submit a request for exemption immediately.
- The Division will consider employee requests for exemption from the requirement to be fully vaccinated based on protected grounds as defined by the Alberta Human Rights Act which may include, but is not limited to:
- A medical condition which prevents an employee from safely receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Requests for accommodations or exemptions based on medical grounds must be accompanied by medical documentation from a licensed physician using the Division provided form or, if the Division form is not used, responding to the questions outlined on the Division form relating to the nature of the medical condition that prevents the employee from safely receiving the COVID-19 vaccination.
- Requests for exemption will be submitted using defined Division processes.
- Requests for exemption will be reviewed by Human Resources representatives designated by the Chief Human Resources Officer on an individualized basis and a decision regarding approval or rejection of the exemption request will be provided to the employee. The review may include a request for additional information from the employee and/or their licensed physician, where applicable, which the employee must facilitate.
- Employees who receive an approved exemption from the Division will be reasonably accommodated, using the Division’s existing accommodation processes, up to the point of undue hardship. Subject to workplace and learning considerations, reasonable accommodations may include, but not be limited to:
- Remote working arrangements.
- Schedule changes.
- On-going COVID-19 testing requirements at the cost and coordination of the employee.
- Approved leave of absence without pay and benefits.
- If there was a defined time period for the exemption provided by a licensed physician, and that time period has expired, the employee must immediately begin the process of becoming fully vaccinated and must provide proof of full vaccination status once obtained or undergo COVID-19 testing in accordance with Section C.
- If the exemption request is under review or denied, the employee is subject to COVID-19 testing in accordance with Section C until fully vaccinated.
- WORKING AT A NON-DIVISION BUILDING
- Employees whose worksites are located in buildings operated by organizations external to the Division are required to follow this regulation and requirements of the external organization. Other organizations may choose to impose additional, more stringent vaccination requirements. Employees must comply with the more stringent requirements.
- Failure to comply with this regulation, including, but not limited to refusal to disclose vaccination status, refusal to comply with applicable COVID-19 testing requirements or the provision of false or misleading information, may result in the employee being subject to:
- Administrative action, including but not limited to leave of absence without pay and benefits.
- Disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
- PREVENTION OF HARASSMENT, BULLYING, OR DISCRIMINATION
- Harassment, bullying or discrimination of any type against employees based on their vaccination status will not be tolerated. Employees experiencing harassment, bullying or discrimination are encouraged to discuss their concerns with their supervisor or the Director, Human Resources, Staff Relations.
- SAFEGUARDING PERSONAL INFORMATION
- The Division will only collect, use and disclose any personal information regarding any individual subject to this regulation in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP).
- Information regarding any individual’s vaccination status, including proof thereof, will be kept confidential, stored in a secure location, and access and disclosure limited to that permissible by FOIP.
- ON-SITE PARTNERS, CONTRACTORS, VOLUNTEERS AND ADULTS ATTENDING EXTRA-CURRICULAR EVENTS
- On-site partners and contractors must ensure their employees/post-secondary students are fully vaccinated or have proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test through a COVID-19 test certificate,in accordance with Section I(4), prior to entering a Division building.
- On-site partners and contractors with employees/post-secondary students who attend a Division building on a regular or ongoing basis must provide a declaration of compliance to the Division.
- On-site partners and contractors are responsible to review proof of vaccination or COVID-19 test results through a COVID-19 test certificate from their employees/post-secondary students.
- Contractors who attend a Division building on a one-time or irregular basis must show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test through a COVID-19 test certificate, in accordance with Section I(4), to designated Division staff on site upon entry.
- Volunteers, including parent and guardian volunteers, must show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test through a COVID-19 test certificate, in accordance with Section I(4), to designated Division staff on site.
- Volunteers who regularly volunteer with the Division have the option of providing a declaration of compliance to the principal/DU administrator or designate instead of showing proof of vaccination upon every entry into a Division building.
- Adults attending Division extra-curricular events must show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test through a COVID-19 test certificate, in accordance with Section I(4), to designated Division staff on site.
- For a COVID-19 test to be considered recent, it must be completed within 72 hours prior to entering a Division building. COVID-19 test results are only valid for 72 hours from the time of COVID-19 testing. COVID-19 testing must be arranged by the individual outside of any Division-paid work hours and is at the individual’s cost.
- The Division will not collect or store proof of vaccination or COVID-19 test results from on-site partners, contractors, volunteers and adults attending extra-curricular events in Division buildings.
- Individuals or organizations found to have falsified information will be in non-compliance with this regulation. This will result in a request to immediately leave the Division building and may further result in termination of contracts or participation in Division activities.
- Given the evolving nature of COVID-19, this regulation will be reviewed and updated periodically as determined by the Superintendent of Schools or as required for alignment with any changes to provincial regulations, legislation or applicable direction.