As a company owned by Alaska Native shareholders and dedicated to improving the lives and preserving the culture and heritage of our people, BSNC is deeply concerned about the disproportionate toll COVID-19 is taking on our Native communities, and particularly our cherished Elders.
A little more than a century ago, the influenza pandemic of 1918 killed between 30% and 40% of our region’s adults and elders. Countless young children were left orphaned, without ties to family to learn from and pass along traditions, culture and language.
That pandemic left a painful scar on our region and negatively affected our Native customs and traditions in ways that endure to this very day. BSNC is proud of our continuing role in helping to restore and revitalize these sacred traditions in honor of our ancestors who perished during the last pandemic.
Unlike the flu that devastated the Seward Peninsula a century ago, severe illness and death from COVID-19 can be prevented. At BSNC, we believe that the best way to protect the health and lives of our people and honor our elders and ancestors, is by supporting widespread vaccination efforts.
As a result, and after careful consideration, BSNC has taken the step of requiring all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 once the vaccine is available to them. Reasonable accommodations that do not cause undue hardship will be granted to employees with valid, documented medical reasons or religious objections on a case-by-case basis.
We understand that some employees may have questions and concerns about vaccinations, and we are making every effort to address them by sharing information from credible scientific and government sources.