10 Hamilton schools with high reported school absences — and the top 10 elementary schools in COVID-19 vaccination uptake
Published February 3, 2022 at 10:31 pm
It seems like a tale of two Hamiltons, when reported school absences are cross-referenced with vaccine uptake in each education institution.
Since the third week of January, when in-person learning resumed, public schools in Ontario Ontario have provided absence rates for their entire population to the province each day. This replaced case reporting, and was part of a push to keep schools open. Ontario students have lost more days of in-person learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic than their peers in every other jurisdiction in Canaada and the United States.
On Wednesday, exactly two weeks after returning, seven Hamilton elementary schools said 20 per cent of their population (staff and students are counted as one) were not present. The tally might have been higher, since students can be marked present if they are learning online while isolating due to COVID-19 concerns.
As it turns out, you could draw a nearly straight line on the map to connect the dots represented by those seven schools. All of them are in the area of Hamilton between Main Street and Lake Ontario, in the north and east ends of the city, which might highlight the uphill battle that Hamilton Public Health Services have been fighting since vaccination began in late 2020.
Queen Mary School, at 26.6 per cent, topped the list on Wednesday. The other six schools reporting 20 per cent or more were: Prince of Wales (22.7), Parkdale (21.7), Hess Street (21.1), Dr. J. Edgar Davey (20.3), W.H. Ballard (20.3) and Hillcrest (20.2). All are part of the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board.
Full vaccination in the seven schools’ student populations ranged between 7.9 per cent at Parkdale to 31.8 at W.H. Ballard. Children aged five to 11 became vaccine-eligible in late November. Nineteen per cent of Hamilton children aged 5 to 11 are fully vaccinated.
Here is a top 10, cross-referenced with City of Hamilton data of estimated vaccination uptake.
|School||Board||Absence(%)||1st dose||2nd dose|
|Queen Mary PS||HWDSB||26.6||44.6||21.4|
|Prince of Wales E PS||HWDSB||22.7||30.6||11.9|
|Hess Street Jr PS||HWDSB||21.1||36.2||16.6|
|Dr. J. Edgar Davey E PS||HWDSB||20.3||26.9||12.8|
|W H Ballard PS||HWDSB||20.3||50.5||31.8|
|Hillcrest E PS||HWDSB||20.2||36.1||12.2|
|Cootes Paradise PS||HWDSB||19.9||58.5||27.7|
|Cathy Wever PS||HWDSB||19.7||31.3||15.7|
|Bennetto E S||HWDSB||18.8||44.6||18.5|
In the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic board (HWCDSB), the highest absence rate was 14.9 per cent at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Elementary School. It is also in the same area, located roughly equidistant between Prince of Wales and Queen Mary. Holy Name of Jesus’ full vaccination rate among the pupils is 17.3 per cent.
On Wednesday, Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious disease specialist at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, helped co-publish an op-ed paper calling for a renewed emphasis on public health outreach to increase vaccination uptakes. Chagla and two medical colleague co-authors warned that vaccine requirements could be putting the cart in front of the horse, and further social inequities.
There are 10 Hamilton elementary schools where roughly half or more of the students have had a pair of jabs. (High school-aged students have been vaccine-eligible for about seven more months, so including secondary schools would be an unfair comparison.) In those 10 schools, the Catholic and public schools that are reporting absences were all below 15 per cent on Feb. 2.
The absence rates in that group ranged from 6.2 per cent at St. Bernadette in Dundas, to 14.6 at Ryerson Middle School.
SchoolBoardAbsence(%)1st dose2nd dose
|Frank Panabaker South||HWDSB||9.2||75.2||54.4|
|Sir William Osler||HWDSB||6.8||80.7||53.4|
|St. Bernadette CES||HWCDSB||6.2||76.5||49.4|
(Private schools are included in the city’s vaccination uptake statistics, but their non-attendance rates are not on the Ontario government’s website.)
Overall, 86.7 per cent of Hamilton’s vaccine-eligible population has had at least one dose, while 82.0 per cent are considered to be fully vaccinated.
Forty-nine per cent of Hamilton children aged 5 to 11 have received their first dose. The minimum waiting period between a first and second child-sized pediatric dose is 21 days.
The youth cohort of 12- to 17-year-olds is at 85 and 81 per cent for first and second doses, just a percentage point lower than the citywide total.insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising