WEYBURN - All employees of the Southeast Cornerstone Public School Division will be required to either prove they have had COVID vaccinations, or to have a negative COVID test, according to a new operational procedure approved by the board.
The Cornerstone board announced the new administrative policy during the Wednesday board meeting at their main office in Weyburn. It will come into effect on Monday, October 18.
According to Lynn Little, director of education of Southeast Cornerstone, the school division “is committed to taking the precautions necessary to protect the health and safety of students and employees and to provide and maintain safe work and learning environments for all.”
The administrative procedure is designed to encourage maximized COVID-19 vaccination rates among school division employees as one of the critical measures to reduce the impact of COVID-19. It will also encourage testing of those who are unvaccinated to reduce the chances of COVID-19 cases in the school division.
“Due to the evolving nature of COVID-19 and regular changes to direction or advice from the Ministry of Education and public health officials, this administrative procedure will be updated as required,” added Little.
The administrative procedure applies to all individuals and employees who access a Cornerstone facility for 15 minutes or more during the instructional or work day, interacting directing with students, or preparing food for student consumption. This includes all board employees, community coaches, volunteers, students on educational or professional placements, School Community Council meetings (if they are held face-to-face), all contracted student transportation drivers, those who provide professional services to children at school, and employees of organizations not related to the school division, but are accessing facilities to deliver services during the instructional day.
All individuals must either provide proof of vaccination to their principal, supervisor or Cornerstone designate, and those individuals who are unable or are unwilling to disclose their vaccination status as required must undergo COVID-19 self-testing and will only be permitted into a Cornerstone facility if they test negative.
Cornerstone will cover the cost of Rapid Tests for all employees at no charge effective October 18 for a period of two months. Employees who must provide verification of a negative test will have to do so on the first workday of their workweek. COVID Rapid Fire tests will occur on-site.
Effective December 18, tests will no longer be supplied by Cornerstone and employees who are required to test must source and pay for the tests themselves.
Any employee who is unable to be vaccinated is encouraged to discussion their situation with their supervisor or with Human Resources to find out if an accommodation under the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code is appropriate.
Any employee who receives a positive COVID-19 test will be considered preliminary or presumptive positive, and they must inform their supervisor, call 811 and seek confirmation through a lab-based PCR test, and self-isolate until the results of the lab-based test are confirmed.
Cornerstone will keep proof of vaccination or other personal information collected in accordance with the procedure as confidential.
As part of the administrative policy, non-compliance by an employee may be subject to administrative or disciplinary action, up to and including termination from their employment. Other individuals who fail to comply with the procedure may be restricted or banned from attending any Cornerstone facility.
“Cornerstone will continue to closely monitor its COVID-19 risk mitigation strategy and the evolving public health information and context to ensure that it optimally protects the health and safety of employees in the workplace and the public that they serve,” added Little.