A petition is circulating in an effort to have Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation (STF) president Patrick Maze removed from his position for pushing for mandatory vaccination for children 12 and up to attend in-person learning in provincial schools.
Although the Saskatchewan government said it will not make vaccination mandatory for children to attend school, the STF is recommending the mandates.
In August, the STF requested the government to mandate vaccinations for anyone entering schools, including teachers, staff, and students.
In October, Senior Medical Health Officer Dr. Cory Neudrof, sent a letter to the Saskatchewan Health Minister Paul Merriman stating the medical health officers of Saskatchewan (MHOs) have “continued and growing concern about the current state of COVID-19” in the province.
Along with requests for stricter measures to be brought in, the letter, signed by 21 medical officers, also requested children 12 and older should be required to show proof of vaccination to attend school.
“In order to keep schools open, we need to make them safer. Proof of vaccination should be required for accessing in-person learning for children 12 years and older, and for households of those under 12 who cannot be immunized yet,” said the letter.
“It should also be required for teachers and staff in all schools and daycare facilities.”
The MHOs also requested youth sports and extracurricular activities for school-aged children should also “require proof of vaccination for eligible participants, spectators, coaches, and volunteer staff.”
STF President Patrick Maze agrees with making vaccinations mandatory for children to attend school for in-person learning.
“You have a right to an education, but not a right to attend school,” said Maze.
“We will still give you an education, but if you’re choosing to be unvaccinated, then we may offer that education online because you’re putting people at risk.”
While several school divisions made vaccines mandatory for teachers and staff, the province is opposed to mandates for students.
“I justify it because the staff and teachers are employees of the school divisions. The students are provincial students,” said Education Minister Dustin Duncan.
“They are minors and they have a right to an education.”
The petition, started by Mallory Fedirko and others, requests Maze be “unseated from his position” for his request to “impose mandated vaccinations for all youth attending school in Saskatchewan.”
“His personal opinions have compromised his integrity as the leader of a governing body. He no longer serves as an unbiased voice for the teachers and students of this province and has no medical jurisdiction to make health decisions on behalf of them,” said the petition.
The wording of the petition was recently updated to remove all references of Maze and his position with SFT.
At the time of publication, the petition received 2,844 signatures.
The Western Standard contacted the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation for comment but did not hear back in time for publishing.
Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard