Whitby MPP says Tories launching Ontario-wide school-based vaccine program


Published January 18, 2022 at 10:15 am

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“Vaccines remain our best defence,” said Whitby MPP and Chief Government Whip Lorne Coe in announcing that Queen’s Park is launching a province-wide school-based vaccine campaign to increase uptake among children.

More than 82 per cent of children aged 12-17 have been fully vaccinated and nearly 50 per cent of kids aged 5-11 – despite being eligible for less than two months – have received their first dose. But with students returning to school this week and the Omicron variant still raging, Coe said it was important that more children get doses in arms.

“To better support access to vaccines for students and staff, we are launching school-based clinics that can help more Ontarians get vaccinated,” he said, adding that in-person learning is “critical for the mental health, development, and academic achievement” of students. “(They) deserve the opportunity to finish out their school year with their peers and educators, and the government is taking action to ensure they receive that opportunity.”

The Conservative government is supporting the return to in-person with more than $1.6 billion in resources to protect against COVID-19, including money for mental health, improved ventilation in classrooms, technology, and the hiring of 2,350 additional staff.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce also announced additional enhanced measures, such as the provision of millions of rapid antigen tests for symptomatic students and staff in public elementary and secondary schools, along with children and staff in child care settings.

In Durham, the Durham Catholic District School Board has been awarded $10.2 million in COVID-19 resources and $7,374,596 for ventilation improvements. Supports include $3.33 million to hire additional staff and 1061 HEPA units in schools, 98,000 non-fit-tested N95s for educators, 48,150 cloth masks for students, and 37,836 rapid antigen tests for symptomatic students and staff.

The Ford government has also provided the Durham District School Board with $31.86 million in COVID-19 resources – including $9.95 million for additional staff – and $ 9,356,455 for ventilation improvements. The board now has 736 HEPA units in schools, 202,000 non-fit-tested N95s for educators, 160,140 cloth masks for students, and 126,038 rapid antigen tests for symptomatic students and staff.

The additional staff includes including educators, custodians, and mental health workers, in addition to access to retired educators.



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