Ontario’s four teachers’ unions support mandatory vaccines for education workers

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Published August 18, 2021 at 5:17 pm

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The new school year is less than one month away, and, while the Province has implemented new COVID-19 vaccine policies for schools that come into effect September 7, many feel they’re not stringent enough.

Currently, according to these policies, education workers will have to provide either proof of vaccination status, or attend an education session and submit to regular rapid antigen testing.

Previously, Ontario’s nurse suggested this policy doesn’t go far enough, and vaccines must be made mandatory for health-care and education workers.

On Wednesday (August 18), all four of Ontario’s teachers’ unions came out in support of mandatory vaccines.

The Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens (AEFO), Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA), and Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF/FEESO) issued a joint statement voicing their support for making vaccines mandatory for education workers.

“To provide the greatest level of protection to Ontario’s students and communities, we believe that everyone working in, or attending a school who is eligible and can be safely vaccinated, should be vaccinated,” the statement reads.

“A mandatory vaccination program with proper provincial direction would provide greater protection against the spread of COVID-19 in school communities and protect students, especially those under the age of 12, as well as others who are unable to vaccinate or do not have access. As the fourth wave of the pandemic intensifies, the Ford government cannot continue to abdicate its responsibilities by downloading COVID-19 planning onto school boards at the last minute,” the statement reads.

Additionally, Ontario’s teachers are calling for additional measures to help prevent the spread of the virus, including improving ventilation in schools, implementing a testing and tracing program, mandating masks for all staff and students, and reducing class sizes. 

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