Chilliwack – In a media release on Monday, Chilliwack School Board announced they will not force a vaccine mandate for teachers and students.
This on the heels of the Province, putting this issue in the hands of local boards and not a blanked decree.
The release from School Board Vice Chair Jared Mumford states in part: ( NOTE School Board Chair Willow Reichelt, SD33 School Trustee took to social media to clarify a few things – This is the official statement about the Board’s vaccine mandate decision. Note that I was told by BCPSEA (BC Public School Employers Association) that I was in conflict (Reichelt’s Husband is a local teacher), so I did not participate in the discussion or vote on whether or not to impose a mandate. I was able to support the superintendent’s messaging after the mandate decision was made.
The health and safety of our staff and students is paramount. The Chilliwack Board of
Education values the expertise, direction, and guidance provided by the Provincial and
Fraser Health Medical Officers. Their guidance continues to help us navigate the
pandemic, while reducing the comparative risks in order to keep schools open for face-
to-face instruction, which we know has a significant positive impact on students’
academic success and mental health.
The advice from the Fraser Health and Coastal Health Medical Officers is that a vaccine
mandate for staff is not likely to significantly reduce the comparative risk in schools.
Vaccination mandates are more appropriate in high-risk settings where transmission is
high and outcomes are severe. Schools are not considered high risk settings. The
Medical Health Officers do not believe a vaccine mandate is necessary for schools to
operate safely and therefore do not support a vaccine mandate in schools. Their advice
is to encourage everyone in the community to get vaccinated and to continue
implementing robust health and safety measures in schools.
Given the analysis of the quantitative and qualitative data, the Board of Education
does not support a vaccination policy at this time. Instead, the Board will take the
following steps to ensure the health and safety of all in our school community.
Continue to advocate vaccinations as an important step to protect all school
community members, especially those who cannot be vaccinated or are immune
• Continue to work closely with the team at Fraser Health to monitor and respond
to emerging events with a thoughtful and coordinated approach. This includes
implementing enhanced, targeted and intensive measures in schools when a
cluster is detected;
• Continue the maintenance and monitoring of ventilation systems to ensure they
are in good working order, and maximize the amount of clean air entering our
• Continue to be diligent in implementing Provincial COVID-19 Communicable
Disease Guidelines for K-12 Settings.
Please note that given all the facts – and to ensure we can keep our schools open
and not exacerbate inequities in the system – the Board is confident this is the
right decision to make.