Administrative Procedure 449

Hazard Mitigation - Employees, Volunteers and Others

Background

Despite the numerous past, present and ongoing COVID-19 risk mitigation and health and safety measures in place, both in our Division and within our communities, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to put strain on our education and health care system as well as the entire community. COVID-19 presents a health risk for staff and students, and it is the responsibility of all school divisions to provide a safe working and learning environment for both staff and students.

Provincial Government and Health Officials have consistently advised that immunization against COVID-19 in conjunction with other risk mitigation strategies is the most effective means to prevent the spread of COVID-19, prevent outbreaks and preserve in person learning.

The Ministers of Health and Education sent all school divisions in the province a letter encouraging a mandatory proof of vaccination or negative test policy be implemented by all School Divisions.

As a result of our responsibilities to those we serve and employ, including our students who are unable to be immunized at this point in time, the Division will require all employees, contractors who work with staff and or students and volunteers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or alternatively, comply with testing requirements as provided in this Administration Procedure. This Administration Procedure does not apply to Division students or parents/guardians thereof unless they are acting in a position of volunteer.

The Division recognizes and will act at all times in accordance with its obligations pursuant to the Education Act, the Alberta Human Rights Act, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Regulation and Code and advice from the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health. 

Definitions

“Fully Vaccinated” means  having received two doses of a vaccine considered valid by Health Canada in a two dose COVID-19 vaccine series, or one dose of a vaccine considered valid by Health Canada in a one dose COVID-19 vaccine series; and, having fourteen days elapsed since the date upon which the person received the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine considered valid by Health Canada of a two dose series, or one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine considered valid by Health Canada in a one dose vaccine series.

“Partially Vaccinated” means having received one dose of a vaccine considered valid by Health Canada in a two dose COVID-19 vaccine series; or, have received the dosage series (typically two doses) but fourteen days have not elapsed since the date upon which the person received the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine considered valid by Health Canada of a two dose series, or one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine considered valid by Health Canada in a one dose vaccine series.

“Unvaccinated” not being in compliance with either Definition A or B as noted above.

“Employee” means any individual employed by the Fort McMurray Public School Division (the “Division”).

“Practicum Students” means any individual who engages in Division related activities and who has direct contact with Division employees and/or students within the role of:

any kind of educational placement or practicum provided through an agreement between the Division and a post-secondary educational institution (i.e. student teachers, educational assistants, nurses, psychologists, behaviour therapists, speech language pathologists etc.); or, any internship, co-op placement or apprenticeship program.

Procedures

  1. All Division Employees must declare their vaccination status to Human Resource Services by December 17, 2021 as Fully Vaccinated, Partially Vaccinated or Not Vaccinated
    1. Employees who are Fully Vaccinated or Partially Vaccinated shall concurrently   provide proof of vaccination status by providing their Supervisor with a copy of their Alberta Health COVID-19 Immunization Record, or when available and verifiable by the Division, a QR code that verifies their COVID-19 vaccine record, as part of their formal attestation of their vaccination status.  An Alberta Health COVID-19 Immunization record can be obtained at https://www.albertavaccinerecord.ca/#/.  A QR code can be obtained at https://covidrecords.alberta.ca/home
      1. The Supervisor shall review and confirm each of their direct reports. Alberta Health COVID-19 Immunization Record and indicate via email to Human Resources, copy to the employee the Employee’s the vaccination status.
      2. Employees may choose to upload their proof of vaccination status using       Employee Connect, see Appendix A for instructions.
    2. Employees must update their vaccination status with the Division if changes occur.
    3. Subject to the exemptions set out below, all new Employees hired on or after January 3, 2022 will be required to be Fully Vaccinated prior to their first day of work and show proof thereof through the provision of an Alberta Health COVID-19 Immunization Record or when available and verifiable by the Division, a QR code that verifies their COVID-19 vaccine record.
    4. Where applicable, equivalent proof of vaccination documents from another Canadian Province or Territory or the Canadian Armed Forces will be accepted.
  2. Employees must present one of the following to Human Resource Services beginning January 17, 2022:
    1. Acceptable proof of full vaccination; or
    2. Participate in twice-weekly rapid testing by Medika North, testing will be paid for at this site by the employer. Results of tests will be shared by Medika North to the Human Resources department. This measure will be reviewed monthly to determine if the division is able to feasibly continue to support Rapid Testing at the division's cost despite the Division's lack of legal obligation to do so; or
    3. Employees may use a rapid test company or test kit outside of Medika North at their own expense. In this circumstance, the employee will upload a signed and dated Negative COVID-19 Test Attestation form (Appendix B) to Human Resources before 7:00 a.m. Monday morning and Thursday morning before 7:00 a.m. Proof of rapid testing remains valid for 72 hours from the time and date of the test. Prior to utilizing an alternate rapid testing company, the employee must first provide to the Human Resources Department the name of the alternative testing and evidence of the testing efficacy.
    4. If an employee's rapid test comes back positive;
      1. The employee is required to book themselves absent (sick) and request a   substitute if required;
      2. Notify the division of rapid test result. Conduct a second rapid test 24 hours following the positive result to confirm if this test is positive as well;
      3. For those who are fully vaccinated and it has been fourteen (14) days after their final dose, as per Alberta Guidelines, must isolate for five (5) days from either the start of symptoms or the collection date of the swab or until symptoms resolve whichever is longer, and for five (5) days following their isolation must wear masks when they are in the accompaniment of another person or in public. Those not fully vaccinated must isolate for 10 days from the date of the swab or the start of symptoms or until they resolve, whichever is longer.
      4. Employees who have tested positive on a rapid test conducted at Medika North or at home and which has been confirmed by a second rapid test conducted 24 hours after the first, will not continue testing until 21 days have passed from the Positive Swab date. Employees must be diligent in their self-monitoring for potential COVID-19 symptoms daily prior to attending the workplace.
  3. Any employee that does not comply with either proof of full vaccination or   acceptable proof of a negative COVID-19 test pursuant to above, is considered non-compliant and the Division will review each non-compliant circumstance in its own context and circumstances, and at its discretion will determine available options including but not limited to:
    1. Leave of Absence without pay and benefits;
    2. Reassignment or modification of duties that would involve no or minimum in-person contact with students and colleagues, understanding that the Division’s ability to consider such alternative arrangements is likely very limited in most cases; and
    3. Conclusion of employment. 

    Disclosure and Testing Requirements - Non-Employees (Volunteers and Practicum Students)

  4. Unless a Division student, parent or guardian is acting in the capacity of a volunteer, Division students, parents and guardians are not subject to this Administrative Procedure.
  5. As of January 17, 2022, any volunteer for a Division activity who will have direct contact with employees and/or Division students must be fully vaccinated.  If not fully vaccinated, the Volunteer must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 rapid antigen screening test or PCR test completed no more than 72 hours prior to the time the Volunteer will have contact, in their volunteer capacity, with employees and/or Division students.  Proof of full vaccination or in the alternative a negative COVID-19 test, will be required/permitted in the same form and pursuant to the same rules as applicable to employees of the Division outlined in procedures 1 and 2 above, except the cost of testing is at the volunteers’ or contractors’ expense.
  6. Practicum Students must provide proof of vaccination to their educational institution, who in turn shall provide a declaration of compliance to the Division which indicates that the Practicum Student:
    1. is Fully Vaccinated; or
    2. as of January 17 2022, has provided proof of a negative COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Screening test or PCR test completed no more than 72 hours prior to the time the Practicum Student is attending at a Division property, and/or having direct contact with Division employees and/or students.
  7. Though subject to review and for work related purposes only, the Division will cover the cost of Rapid Testing Kits for Division employees as provided by Medika North. Testing at other locations or with other test kits are to paid by the Employee.

    Exemption
  8. The Division recognizes its responsibilities and duties pursuant to the Alberta Human Rights Act. If an Employee is unable to be vaccinated due to a protected ground as defined by the Act, the Division will consider requests for exemption and reasonable accommodation to the point of undue hardship.
  9. Any employee seeking a Human Rights (ie. medical or religious) exemption from compliance with this Administrative Procedure should notify Human Resource Services as soon as possible. Human Resource Services will advise any employee inquiring on applying for an exemption the required information to do so. All employees considering applying for an exemption should understand that this Administrative Procedure is purposely designed to provide an alternative for employees not able or wishing to be fully vaccinated, to remain compliant with this Administrative Procedure by providing the required regular COVID-19 negative test result. As a result, it is anticipated in most cases that employees that have a proven legitimate Human Rights exemption to vaccination will be reasonably accommodated by participating in the regular COVID-19 testing procedures outlined above in this Administrative Procedure.

    Non-Compliance
  10. Any failure to comply with this Administrative Procedure by an Employee, including the refusal to disclose vaccination status and/or the provision of proof of vaccination status, compliance with applicable testing requirements, or the provision of false or misleading information in any regard, may result in administrative or disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.
  11. Any volunteers contractors who work with students, staff or practicum students to which this Administrative Procedure is applicable, who fail to comply with any part of this Administrative Procedure, including being found to have falsified vaccination or test results, will be considered to be in non-compliance with this Administrative Procedure and must immediately leave Division property and cease performance of all duties as a volunteer or practicum student interacting with the Division’s staff or students. With respect to any Practicum Students, any event of non-compliance may result in reporting the event of non-compliance to the appropriate post-secondary institution.
    1. Each Contractor shall be required to provide written confirmation that all of their employees that provide services to Fort McMurray School Division are compliant with the requirement of this Administrative Procedure and if rapid testing is done by the Contractor that reasonable measures are taken to confirm the testing and reporting accuracy.

    Support For Vaccination

  12. If operationally feasible and with the permission of their immediate supervisor, employees may be released on work time to be vaccinated on-duty without any loss of compensation or the requirement to use sick leave banks to a maximum of three (3) hours for each dose.

    Continued Compliance With All Health And Safety Precaution
  13. All employees are expected and required to continue to comply with all applicable health and safety measures to reduce the hazard of COVID-19, including but not limited to compliance with screening protocols, wearing a mask or face covering, using provided PPE, maintaining appropriate physical distancing and self-monitoring for potential COVID-19 symptoms daily prior to attending the workplace. 

    Protection Of Privacy
  14. The Division will only collect, use and disclose any personal information regarding any individual subject to this Administrative Procedure in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“FOIP”).
  15. Information regarding any individual’s vaccination status, including but not limited to any individual’s Alberta Health COVID-19 Immunization Record has been collected pursuant to Section 33(c) of FOIP, will be kept confidential, stored in a secure location, and access and disclosure limited to that permissible by FOIP.
  16. Information disclosed by a volunteer or practicum student pursuant to this Administrative Procedure will be held by the Division for the minimum amount of time necessary to confirm their compliance with this Administrative Procedure. 

    Prevention Of Harassment, Bullying Or Discrimination
  17. Harassment, bullying or discrimination of any type against individuals based on their vaccination status, compliance with this Administrative Procedure or any other reason will not be tolerated. Employees experiencing harassment, bullying or discrimination are encouraged to review Administrative Procedure 170, Harassment in the Workplace.

    Administrative Procedure Review
  18. Pursuant to the current background and context set out at the beginning of this Administrative Procedure, this Administrative Procedure is considered temporary due to the evolving and dynamic nature of this public health matter, and ongoing direction, recommendations and advice from public health officials and the Alberta Education. As a result, this Administrative Procedure will be periodically reviewed (at least every 6 months) and updated/amended as deemed necessary.

Adopted:

November, 19, 2021, January 19, 2022

Reference:

Section 3(1)(a), 4, 5(1) Occupational Health and Safety Act

Section 33, 53(1)(a), 251 Education Act

Cross Reference:

Policy 12 Role of the Superintendent

Policy 20 Student Conduct/Welcoming, Caring, Respectful and Safe

AP 160 Health and Safety of Students and Staff

AP 161 Communicable Diseases

AP 166 Pandemic Response

AP 317 Life Threatening Medical Conditions

AP 448 Fitness for Duty Guidelines

AP 490 Volunteers

AP 509 Enterprise Risk Management