Almost 90% of school staff “fully vaccinated”

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Almost nine out of every 10 members of staff at Renfrew County’s two school boards have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

School boards across the province were required to report the vaccination status of their staff as of Wednesday.

According to figures posted on their websites, 88 per cent of staff at the Renfrew County District School Board and 89.7 per cent at the Renfrew County Catholic District School Board have “attested to” or provided proof that they are “fully vaccinated,” meaning they have had two shots of a COVID-19 vaccine and had two weeks since their second shot for the vaccine to provide its most effective protection.

The RCDSB said that “as announced on August 17, 2021, all school boards in the province of Ontario are mandated to collected, maintain, and disclose key data metrics in relation to vaccination rates in our facilities on a monthly basis.”

“Individuals captured under this policy for the RCDSB include:

  • All RCDSB employees (including long-term occasional teachers and casual workers);
  • School board trustees;
  • Student transportation drivers.”

The board said a total of 1,745 individuals are covered by the policy.

Of those, 1,536 are fully vaccinated, 154 (nine per cent) are not fully vaccinated, 12 have provided a “documented medical reason for not being fully vaccinated against COVID-19,” and 43 (2.5 per cent) have “not completed the mandatory attestation.”

The board says that to protect staff and students, the RCDSB currently mandates that “all other individuals who access our schools in other capacities attest to being FULLY vaccinated.”

“Individuals who cannot attest to being fully vaccinated will not be permitted into RCDSB schools/facilities.”

The board says these individuals include, but are not limited to:

  • Student/educational placement staff;
  • Volunteers (in all capacities);
  • Community partners who provide services to students;
  • Visitors, including all third-party contractors.

At the Catholic board, the RCCDSB says of 791 staff and trustees, 710 are fully vaccinated, none have provided a medical reason for not getting vaccinated, and just three have not yet provided an attestation form.

The board also reports that out of 284 “other individuals” (visitors, volunteers, contractors, other professionals and student transportation drivers), 234 (82 per cent) are fully vaccinated, six (2.1 per cent) have provided a medical reason for not getting vaccinated, and none have not yet provided an attestation.

School boards are also required under the provincial directions to provide ongoing statistics on the number of “active, confirmed, positive COVID-19 cases” that have been linked to any one of their schools (both students and staff).

“A positive case at a school does not ​mean the individual was exposed to COVID-19 at the school. They may have been exposed somewhere else in the community,” the RCDSB said on its website.

Both county school boards reported zero cases at all schools as of Wednesday.

In a “welcome back to school” message posted September 7, RCDSB director of education Pino Buffone said that with the resumption of “predominantly full-time, in-person environments for schools and workplaces, I am confident in the protocols established to ensure our collective health and safety.”

“We will continue to take a careful, cautious approach to the operations of the organization based upon the guidance of the Ministries of Education, Health and Labour, and adjust accordingly throughout the course of the school year when it is needed.”

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