Hamilton Catholic school board to implement vaccination disclosure policy

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Published September 2, 2021 at 10:02 am

The Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board (HWCDSB) will be implementing a vaccine disclosure policy for all employees, as well as frequent school visitors, trustees,
bus drivers, and volunteers.

The board unveiled its Parent Guide for the 2021-22 school year on Wednesday (Sept. 1) and it provided some of the details for the safe reopening of schools including the board’s plans to implement a COVID-19 vaccination policy.

“Vaccination is an important tool to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” the guide said.

“Vaccines are safe, effective and are the best way to protect students, their families, and staff from COVID-19 and its variants. Increased vaccination rates may provide opportunities to reduce COVID-19 restrictions and allow schools to safely resume normal activities.”

While the board said they are still waiting on further direction from the Ontario government, the new policy is expected to address the following objectives:

  • to support safer schools for Ontario’s students and education workers;
  • to set out a provincially consistent approach to COVID-19 immunization disclosure policies in schools;
  • to optimize COVID-19 vaccination rates in schools;
  • to ensure that individuals have access to information required to make informed decisions about COVID-19 vaccination; and,
  • to ensure that individuals not vaccinated for COVID-19 are being routinely tested for COVID-19.

Hamilton’s public school board, the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB), announced its intention earlier this summer to adopt a similar vaccination status disclosure policy for its staff.

Both boards, however, still await final directions from the province’s Ministry of Education and public health on implementing the policy.

There is currently no vaccination policy for students who attend in-person learning, but Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore, hasn’t ruled out the possibility of adding one as the school year progresses.

Last month, Moore said that should one be implemented, it would follow the same framework and students would be required to provide proof of vaccination or medical exemption or be subject to regular rapid antigen testing.

Both of Hamilton’s school boards said they will be updating staff, students and families about their policies in the days to come.

— with a file from The Canadian Press

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