ATA Supports Vaccine Mandates for Teachers and Other School Staff

Release Date 2021 09 28

Reasonable policies that require school staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 are being encouraged by the Alberta Teachers’ Association. The Association is releasing a statement that encourages the Government of Alberta and, in its absence, individual school boards, to introduce such mandates and outlines the specific conditions required to develop a reasonable mandate.

“The best way to support student safety at a time when so many students cannot be vaccinated is to ensure that the adults around them are vaccinated. We cannot mandate vaccination for our members so we are making it clear that we believe those who can—like the Government of Alberta or individual school boards—should.”

—Jason Schilling, ATA President

The Association has received legal advice that speaks to the conditions required for a reasonable vaccine mandate. These conditions ensure that mandates are temporary and reviewable, that reasonable accommodations are available and that noncompliance is handled in a way that is nondisciplinary but still protects school safety.

The policy statement released today provides school boards with information about how to develop mandates that would comply with Association legal advice. The Association does not anticipate providing support to members wishing to challenge vaccine mandates that meet the criteria released today.

“We will not be part of opposing or challenging vaccine mandates, so long as the policies are reasonable. School boards will have to ensure that employee privacy is respected as much as possible and personal information will have to be stored securely, but this is an area where a balancing of rights and responsibilities is warranted.”

—Jason Schilling, ATA President

Schilling points out that this new policy statement is consistent with pre-existing Association policy on vaccinations previously approved by the ATA’s annual representative assembly.

The Association has also introduced directives that mandate proof of vaccination requirements for anyone to attend any in-person events organized by the ATA or any of its subgroups.

The Alberta Teachers’ Association, as the professional organization of teachers, promotes and advances public education, safeguards standards of professional practice and serves as the advocate for its 46,000 members.

For more information or to arrange an interview with President Schilling, contact Kim Clement.