DAWSON CREEK -- School District 59 has announced a proof of vaccination procedure for staff.

In a meeting on Monday, January 19, the Board of Education of School District 59 passed a motion to implement a proof of vaccination procedure specific to COVID-19 for staff and individual contractors of the District.

School District 59 says the health and safety of staff and students was at the forefront of this decision and public health authorities recommend that vaccines continue to be the most effective way to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in schools and communities.

All school staff will be asked to either provide proof of vaccination or take a routine rapid test.

However, staff who do not provide proof of vaccination or participate in rapid testing will be asked to take a leave of absence.

The procedure is expected to be implemented as soon as possible after the required notice to staff has elapsed. The timeline will allow for staff that are unvaccinated to get fully immunized.

“The board's determination was that this was the right balance between safety and keeping schools open and a high priority the province and our school district has on keeping students in classrooms with their classmates and teachers in an in-person learning environment,” says SD59 Board Chair, Chad Anderson.

The procedure will be in place until June 30, 2022 and then will be reviewed.