An Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) trustee is pushing for mandatory vaccinations for all eligible students and to corral unvaccinated kids in virtual schools. 

According to a motion presented before the Special Committee of the Whole meeting on August 31, 2021, Trustee Lyra Evans is seeking to implement the mandate beginning on September 30, 2021. 

The motion states that students over the age of 12 will “be required to be partially vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus or provide proof of a medical exemption as of 30 September 2021 and be fully vaccinated as of 20 November 2021 to continue to attend in person classes. Any student who is not vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus after this date will be re-enrolled in the virtual school.”

Repeated attempts to contact Evans by True North for clarification on the motion went unanswered.

Last month, Evans was behind a push to require mandatory masking for all kindergartner children in the district as well as a separate motion that would require any guest or parent on school grounds to show proof of vaccination. 

Last week, fellow OCDSB Trustee Rob Campbell put forward a similar motion on student vaccinations. Campbell’s motion calls on the Board to “write a letter to the Minister of Education to advocate for the addition of the COVID-19 vaccination to the list of compulsory vaccinations for all eligible students.” 

According to Campbell, he will present an updated version of his motion to “advocate for an evaluation by Provincial health authorities as to the wisdom of adding the vaccine to the list. 

Campbell told True North in an email that his motion was “not actually calling for adding to the list of mandatory vaccinations but calling for an assessment of the idea, which is one step back.”

“Indeed, given that local public health units now can direct all unvaccinated students to go home to isolate, and have the capacity now to discriminate student by student this way, there may not be a need to add to the list of diseases or to ask for further Provincial direction,” said Campbell. 

He went on to explain a similar initiative in Toronto. 

“The (Toronto District School Board) has already called for adding to the list unequivocally as well, and I hear that Provincial Public Health may or may not have started to look at the idea anyway – I’m not certain where that stands or to what degree politics may or may not be involved. As such, the proposed motion is actually weaker, I think it’s fair to say, than the declarations of other School Board related declarations in recent days.”

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