With many Ontarians advocating for teachers to be moved up in the vaccine queue, one health region is taking action and immunizing all education staff over the April spring break.
The District School Board of Niagara announced Tuesday that about 4,000 of its in-school staff would be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine from April 10 to 18, which means they can get their first dose before classes resume after the break.
“The Niagara Region and Niagara Health have gone above and beyond to ensure that staff who work in schools are vaccinated, and we are incredibly thankful. By making this decision, they have increased the safety of our students, staff, and their families for the rest of the year,” Sue Barnett, DSBN chair of the board, said in a news release.
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Ontario has entered Phase 2 of its vaccination plan, meaning essential workers, people with underlying health conditions, and people living in hotspot neighbourhoods are now prioritized for vaccination.
Ontario estimates teachers, who fall in the essential category, should all be eligible for their first shot by mid-May. The local health authority in Niagara, however, decided to allocate doses for teachers sooner.
Teachers’ unions have been advocating for educators to be moved up the line for vaccination, arguing classrooms aren’t currently safe working environments. One teaching union delivered an ultimatum to the province this week, demanding teachers be immunized.
Toronto and Peel both temporarily shut schools this week to slow COVID-19 transmission.