Board Meeting Highlights - November 9, 2021

1. Ralston School Presentation

Ralston School principal Stacey Nunweiller provided the board with an update on what is happening at the school. Some of the highlights include community consultation to develop a new mission and vision for the school, a community building project (as many of the students who attend Ralston School come from out of the country), and the implementation of new strategies to address parent and student concerns from the assurance survey that took place in the spring of 2021. One of the strategies included focus on student voice which involved extending the student council to include a representative from each classroom from grades JK-9. Principal Nunweiller also spoke about the new Ralston School Prairie Rose Possibility project called Learning from the Land. A website has been created outlining the project in detail. The full presentation can be found in the November 9, 2021 Agenda Package.

2. Prairie Rose Possibilities

Superintendent Reagan Weeks presented a report to the board outlining unique learning opportunities and programs across the school division. In total, Prairie Rose has a total of 28 projects that have been started with approximately 1,527 students participating across the division. The full list of projects can be found in the November 9, 2021, Agenda Package.

3. Committee Structures - item was tabled.

4. COVID-19 Tabled Policy

Deputy Superintendent Mark Heinricks presented an overview of the data collected by the school division related to vaccination rates of staff by employee groups, the letters sent to school division’s by the Minister’s of Education and Health and the ATA, the CMOH Health Order, legal considerations related to the implementation or lack thereof of a proof of negative COVID test or vaccination policy, and details on what other boards in the province have done to address the Ministers’ request. 

Trustee Lois Bedwell put forward a motion that would direct administration to develop a policy that would require staff who work directly with students to be double vaccinated or show proof of a negative COVID-19 test. 

A second motion was put forward by trustee Shauna Vanderspruit to table the motion by trustee Bedwell. That motion was defeated 3-4.

The board discussed the implications of the motion put forward by trustee Bedwell including; the ability for staff to test, vaccine hesitancy, legal implications and board liability, potential insurance costs, clarification related to what is meant by ‘staff’ and a possible timeline for implementation. The motion passed 4-3. A recorded vote was requested.

Trustee Vanderspruit put forward an additional motion asking for administration to draft a letter reminding the government that the mandate for school boards is to make decisions for students regarding education, and that health decisions should remain the purview of the Ministry of Health. Further, the letter will include a request for financial assistance for boards to cover costs incurred when implementing a rapid testing program in schools. The motion was carried unanimously.

A letter has been shared with stakeholders with further clarification of the decision: Policy Decision Letter