School Board Update
Update on Immunization Disclosure Policy for School Boards
Date: September 3, 2021
On August 17, 2021, the Ontario government announced that COVID-19 vaccination policies will be made mandatory in certain settings including, but not limited to, publicly funded school boards, private schools and licensed child care settings for the 2021-22 school year.
On August 18, 2021, the Minister of Education outlined further details of this initiative in a letter sent to Chairs of District School Boards, Directors of Education and Secretary/Treasurers of School Authorities. The Minister stated that the Ministry of Education (Ministry) will be introducing an immunization disclosure policy for all publicly funded school board employees, staff in private schools and staff in licensed child care settings for the 2021-22 school year.
On September 1, 2021, the Ministry released an updated School Board Implementation Resource Guide (Guide).
In this School Board Update, we discuss the proposed immunization disclosure policy based on the information released to date.
Immunization Disclosure Policy (Policy)
Under the Policy, school boards must ensure that all of their employees and all other covered individuals provide proof of one of the following three things:
- full vaccination against COVID-19, or
- a medical reason for not being vaccinated against COVID-19, or
- participation in an educational program approved by the Ministry of Education.
This requirement will also apply to trustees and student transportation drivers, as well as student placements, volunteers, frequent school visitors (including third party contractors) and professionals who deliver services in schools.
Where these persons are not fully vaccinated, including those with medical reasons, they will be required to undergo rapid antigen testing on a regular basis.
According to the Guide, the immunization disclosure policy will be set out in “instructions” to be issued by the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
School Board Implementation Resource Guide
On September 1, 2021, the Ministry issued the Guide to support school boards in implementing their immunization disclosure policies.
The Guide sets out the following key dates:
- September 7, 2021: Individuals covered by the Policy are expected to submit to a formal “attestation” if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
- September 10, 2021: School boards are to share aggregated depersonalized statistical information regarding attestations with the Ministry, in accordance with a prescribed template.
- September 15, 2021: School boards are expected to publicly post the aggregated, depersonalized statistical information and continue doing so on a monthly basis.
- September 24, 2021: School boards are expected to share updated aggregated, depersonalized statistical information with the Ministry.
Among other things, the Guide contains the following information:
- The individuals who are covered by the Policy
- Attestation requirements
- Attestation collection guidance
- Providing proof of vaccination, a medical reason for not being vaccinated or completion of an educational program
- Testing requirements
- Communication guidance
- Statistical information and reporting.
The Guide also contains a sample “School Board Immunization Disclosure Policy,” as well as “frequently asked questions” and supplementary educational resources.
We will continue to monitor the developments in this area, including an update on the instructions to be issued by the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
In the meantime, should you require assistance drafting or implementing your immunization disclosure policy, please contact your regular Hicks Morley lawyer.
The article in this client update provides general information and should not be relied on as legal advice or opinion. This publication is copyrighted by Hicks Morley Hamilton Stewart Storie LLP and may not be photocopied or reproduced in any form, in whole or in part, without the express permission of Hicks Morley Hamilton Stewart Storie LLP. ©