Loading articles...

Ontario school board group calls for teachers to get vaccinated over spring break

Last Updated Mar 26, 2021 at 4:18 pm EDT

Desks are arranged to maintain physical distancing between students in this elementary classroom. UNSPLASH

The group that represents Ontario’s English public school boards is calling on the province to vaccinate education workers against COVID-19 over the upcoming spring break.

The Ontario Public School Board Association says the measure would help keep kids in classrooms, as fewer teachers would have to miss work due to COVID-19 exposure.

As it stands, teachers are set to be vaccinated towards the end of Phase 2 of the province’s immunization rollout, which is not expected until school is out for the summer.

Cathy Abraham, president of OPSBA, says the education minister’s decision to delay the March break until April 12 gives the province the perfect opportunity to make a difference this school year.

She made the request in a letter to Education Minister Stephen Lecce that was sent Thursday, and says she has yet to hear back.

The Peel District School Board has also sent a letter to the Medical Office of Health urging the prioritization of COVID-19 vaccines for education workers.

The memo says staff and students have taken extraordinary measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 and “it is imperative that these efforts are met with the respect of meeting their obligations of prioritizing education workers and those supporting in-school learning, especially in vaccine distribution.”

Spokespeople for the ministers of health and education did not immediately provide comment on the matter.

Harvey Bischof, president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, says his union’s members are eager to get vaccinated, but don’t want to hop the queue ahead of those most vulnerable to COVID-19.

He says, however, that once the elderly and front-line health-care workers get their shots, teachers should be next in line.