Statement from Chair on Education Worker Vaccinations
Following the provincial announcement to include education workers in Phase 2 of the Ontario immunization program, and recognizing the importance of keeping schools open, HWDSB is formally requesting that Hamilton Public Health Services immediately provide Covid-19 vaccine access to frontline education workers.
Dawn Danko, Chair of the Board, shared the following statement:
“We are at a critical point in wave three of this pandemic. HWDSB requests the opportunity to coordinate with Hamilton Public Health Services to vaccinate frontline, in-person education workers immediately.
We are encouraged that other public health units across the province are working with their school boards to vaccinate education workers in the next week.
Vaccinating education workers now will improve the conditions that allow schools to stay open.
Our priority is to minimize time in remote learning. As the Children’s Health Coalition stated, long-term school closures can seriously harm the learning, mental health and development of children.
We appreciate the ongoing collaboration with our local public health unit. We hope that we can continue to work together to avoid an extended school closure and reduce the spread of Covid-19 in our community.”
Education Workers to be Vaccinated as Ontario Begins Phase Two of Distribution Plan
The Ontario government is moving into Phase Two of its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan. This phase aims to prioritize individuals with the highest-risk health conditions and slow the spread in “hot spot” communities.
Back in January, it was announced that education workers would also be included Phase Two of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan. This commitment was reiterated in a news release that was published today:
Other groups that will become eligible to receive vaccines as part of Phase Two of the Ontario immunization program include:
- Individuals with specific health conditions which make them at high-risk or at-risk, as well as some primary caregivers;
- People who live and work in congregate settings and some primary caregivers; and,
- Certain workers who cannot work from home (e.g., elementary / secondary school staff, food manufacturing workers, high-risk and critical retail workers, and more).
When asked about the plan to vaccinate education workers, Premier Doug Ford said the province is working on a plan with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, and local school boards and public health units. Officials specified the need to vaccinate special education workers, as these individuals tend to have closer interactions with students. HWDSB looks forward to working with our partners to develop a vaccination plan for our staff members, including those working with students with special education needs.
Ontario is expected to announce more details regarding its plans to vaccinate education workers some time this week. There have been numerous calls for school staff to be vaccinated over the upcoming April break. Premier Ford acknowledged this proposal during his announcement, stating that this is an option and “everything is on the table”. HWDSB will continue to monitor updates surrounding Phase Two of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan and communicate any relevant updates.
Read Ontario’s news release to learn more about Phase Two of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan.