ATHABASCA - Town and Country This Week sent out a request to the three trustee candidates for Aspen View Public Schools - Ward 2 last week, asking them to answer these two questions. Answers appear as they were received, in the order they were received. There are two spots available in Ward 3 and three candidates
Question #1: Are you in support of proof of vaccination or showing a negative COVID-19 test from teachers, staff or other public who enter the school? Why or why not?
Question #2: Are you vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus? Why or why not?
Dennis MacNeil - Incumbent
#1. I have been a trustee with Aspen View Public Schools for the past 12 years. In that time, I have taken great pride in knowing that each and every decision I have made has been filtered through the lens of keeping our students safe. COVID has changed how decisions are made. It should not be the responsibility of individual school boards to implement any sort of proof of vaccination or testing results. If the provincial government, in conjunction with AHS (Alberta Health Services), made it mandatory for Boards to require proof of a negative test or required a vaccine passport as a condition of employment, and if the decision is made by the Board, then and only then would I be in support of upholding the decision to do so.
#2. Yes, I am fully vaccinated. Both my wife and I chose to be fully vaccinated because we believe and trust our medical community and the science behind vaccinations. When I am ill, I go to a medical professional for advice and treatment, so when they recommend that I get vaccinated, I trust what they are telling me is both true and in my best interest. I want to stay safe and protect not only myself and my family, but I also want to protect those that I come in contact with. So, for me it’s about limiting the possibilities of transmission so that we can more quickly return to some form of normal.
Anne Karczmarczyk - Incumbent
#1. It goes without saying that the health and well-being of students and staff are paramount, and we have a duty of care. In saying that it is important to remember that a board is mandated by the Alberta Government and Alberta Health Services, and we align our Policies and/or Administrative Procedures with those mandates or recommendations. Unfortunately, the Ministries are not mandating on their own and asking school boards to make these decisions. We would look at all the information available to us if this issue comes to our Board table, and make a decision based on what is best for kids.
#2. Yes, I am fully vaccinated.
Due to a contact error, Ms. Schmidt did not receive the questions so they have been added as of Oct. 14.
#1. I believe Board level decisions need to be made with the best interest of students and staff in mind. My concern with the possibility of mandating vaccinations and testing is that it may unnecessarily divide the community further, and there may be implications that have not yet been considered by most.
#2. Prevention and safety are a priority for me. Vaccines have been effective in the past so I do not dismiss them, however, the use of private medical information as a political persuasion tool is not something I will participate in.