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Squamish school board reviewing next steps about vaccines for workers

SD48 reviewing information prior to vaccine decision, after Premier John Horgan announced last week that vaccine mandates for workers in schools would be up to individual school districts.
School district 48
The Sea to Sky School board offices in downtown Squamish.

The Squamish school board will be reviewing next steps after Premier John Horgan announced that vaccine mandates for workers in schools would be up to individual school districts.

SD48 responded in an email to The Chief that said it would be working with Vancouver Coastal Health and the local medical health officer to determine the best steps moving forward regarding mandatory vaccinations for its workers.

“We will need time to review the implications for our district,” read the email.

Horgan announced on Oct. 7 that it would be up to the elected school board members to decide what is best for their community.

“There is a responsibility for elected representatives who put their hand up and said ‘I’d like to be on the school board’ to inform themselves about the best way to protect their employees and the children within their district," said Horgan at the news conference.

This information comes on the heels of a province-wide mask mandate for all schoolchildren implemented at the start of the week that added students in kindergarten to Grade 3 to the mandate. 

The mandate applies to students from kindergarten to Grade 12, according to Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, until January when it will be reassessed based on whether or not vaccines would be approved for children under 12.

As it stands, those under 12 are ineligible for any COVID-19 vaccine, yet Pfizer did release a statement that said clinical trials are “showing a favorable safety profile and robust neutralizing antibody responses in children 5 to 11 years of age.”

Pfizer tweeted that it submitted a request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use on Oct. 7. Pfizer Canada aims to submit a request to Health Canada by mid-October.

A report from BC COVID-19 Modelling Group said that if approved, the Pfizer vaccine would likely bring benefits to children and indirect benefits to adults, as children under 12 make up about 50% of the unvaccinated group in B.C.

Moreover, the report said that cases among children “rose steeply in Fraser Health, Interior Health and Vancouver Island.”

On Oct. 7, the province announced that there were 5,929 active cases within B.C. with 823 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region. There were 78 new cases and two new deaths in the region.

Lastly, the province said people not fully vaccinated accounted for 70.8% of cases between Sept. 29 and Oct. 5. From Sept. 22 to Oct. 5, people not fully vaccinated accounted for 78.3% of hospitalizations.

~With a file from Jennifer Thuncher/The Squamish Chief