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Local School Divisions Urge Vaccination Priority for School-Based Staff

Posted on

April 28, 2021

Medicine Hat Public Schools, Medicine Hat Catholic Board of Education and Prairie Rose Public Schools representing school jurisdictions in Medicine Hat and surrounding areas in southeast Alberta have written a joint letter to government advocating that all school-based staff, as essential workers, be prioritized to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. 

Together, the three boards strongly encourage the Alberta government to immediately offer vaccinations to school staff. Alberta’s schools have been expected to operate at 100% capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic, posing unavoidable increased health risks for staff who do not have the option to work from home. While our schools vigilantly follow the public health guidelines, our education K-12 facilities are the most densely populated buildings throughout the school day. Given this circumstance, our staff deserve the opportunity to access an extra layer of protection vaccines provide.

Based on the province’s current vaccination rollout plan, it is estimated that approximately between 30 - 35% of school staff across all divisions, unless they are immune-compromised, will not get vaccinated until after the end of June.  We are deeply concerned that school-based staff have not been prioritized for vaccinations. Providing the COVID-19 vaccination will minimize significant costs associated with staff replacement and help to avoid disruption to student learning. Additionally, with no approved vaccine for those under the age of 16, staff vaccinations would provide additional protection for all students and their families.

School-based staff play a vital role in providing high quality education to students, as such, deserve to be protected by the COVID-19 vaccination.  Further, keeping schools open Is one of the key elements of maintaining the economy of the communities we serve. Having children in school facilitates parents being able to go to work and keeps business flowing. We strongly urge the government of Alberta to take action immediately and prioritize COVID-19 vaccinations for school-based staff.

Sent on behalf of: 

Medicine Hat Public Schools

Medicine Hat Catholic Board of Education

Prairie Rose Public Schools