Mississauga and Brampton teachers want the vaccine and they want it now

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The Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board wants the provincial government to change its rollout program to get teachers vaccinated right away.

This week trustees approved a motion that calls on the province to change the vaccine delivery system because of the increasing rate of COVID-19 cases in its school system.

Under the current framework developed by the Ontario government, teachers are not considered to be at high risk as plans call for the vaccine to be delivered to older members of the general population and frontline medical workers.

However Dufferin-Peel teachers, now backed by the board, believe they are more likely to be exposed to the virus because of the high number of cases across Peel Region including those affecting the classroom.

In Dufferin-Peel, 40 percent of all schools in the system are currently dealing with COVID cases whether it is students or staff members who have been infected. Further, 12 schools that have been impacted by COVID are now closed with students reverting to online learning.

"In addition to the infection prevention control measures that have been implemented in our Peel schools, expedited vaccination for our education workers is necessary in order to take action, break the chains of transmission and save lives," writes Board Chair Sharon Hobin in a letter to Ontario Premier Doug Ford. "We are committed to supporting our educators, support staff, students and their families."

Other points the board raises in the letter:

  • The Region of Peel is one of the hardest hit areas in the province for COVID-19 and COVID-19 virus transmission in the community continues to have significant impact on Peel Region schools  
  • Peel Public Health has confirmed that COVID-19 cases of Variants of Concern (VOC) have been identified in our schools in Peel region; these new strains of COVID-19 are known to spread faster
  • DPCDSB has experienced unprecedented levels of absenteeism among staff and significant challenges in securing Occasional Teacher coverage to provide staffing relief and safe and adequate supervision of students
  • Prioritization of COVID-19 vaccination for all school-based staff is a preventative measure to keeping our schools safe and will contribute to the health and wellness of staff, students, and families in our school communities.

Under the provincial framework for the vaccine rollout now in place, teachers will receive vaccines anytime between mid-April to June of this year.

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