Hamilton public school board ‘welcomes’ COVID-19 vaccination policy

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Published August 18, 2021 at 12:18 pm


Hamilton’s public school board said it ‘welcomes’ the province’s decision to implement a vaccination disclosure policy.

On Tuesday (Aug. 17), the Ministry of Education announced plans to implement the policy for all publicly funded school board employees and staff in private schools as well as for all staff in licensed child care settings to provide proof of their vaccination status.

In a statement issued Tuesday evening, the Chair of the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB), Dawn Danko, issued a statement saying the board “welcomes” the decision.

“Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and regular rapid testing of unvaccinated education workers are additional layers of protection in our schools and workplaces,” Danko said.

“Families want to know that our schools are safe, especially for students who are too young or unable to be vaccinated.”

While further details will be revealed in the days ahead, the policy will require those who are not immunized, or those who cannot provide proof of vaccination status to participate in regular rapid antigen testing.

Presently, there is 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.

According to Moore, 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.

The measures come as COVID-19 case counts rise across the province, driven by the highly infectious Delta variant, among mostly unvaccinated individuals. The hope is that these mandates will address lagging vaccination rates.

Hamilton’s Catholic school board has not issued a direct statement supporting the province’s decision as of yet, but the Catholic Principals’ Council of Ontario voiced their support for the new protocols.

“Today’s announcement, which will introduce a vaccination disclosure policy for publicly funded school board employees, is a step in the right direction,” said CPCO President Antonella Rubino in a statement issued Tuesday.

In the meantime, Danko said the HWDSB is awaiting further details from the ministry and plans to provide updates to families ahead of the school year’s start.

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