Introducing new health and safety measures and accelerating vaccinations for educators to protect students and staff against COVID-19
Nothing is more important than keeping Ontario’s schools safe and open for students, staff and their families.
That’s why we are introducing additional health and safety measures to protect against COVID-19 while working hard to get our education workers vaccinated. Our students deserve a safe return to their classrooms on April 19 so that they can keep learning, and we are committed to delivering on that.
While April Break will proceed, new protocols will be introduced to ensure students return to class safely following the break, including:
- Asymptomatic testing expansion to include testing during the break
- On-site confirmation of self-screening of staff and students
- Refresher training for staff on safety protocols upon return from break
- Encouraging outdoor instruction when possible
- Enhanced cleaning of schools during the break
For the week of April 12th-18th, pharmacies that offer testing and all assessment centres across the province will accept appointments from students and education staff for asymptomatic testing. The Ministry of Education will be working with school boards to offer school-based clinics.
Our PC government also confirmed that vaccination of education staff will be accelerated, with access starting next week during the ‘April Break’. This expansion includes:
- special education staff, province-wide
- vaccination of education workers starting in high-priority neighborhoods in Toronto and Peel, and as supply allows, in Hamilton, Halton, York, Durham, and Ottawa.
- a commitment to scale up the delivery of vaccinations province-wide to all education staff, as supply allows
The Chief Medical Officer of Health has confirmed that schools remain safe – and the medical community has been clear that keeping schools open is critical for the mental health and well-being of kids.
Ontario has one of the lowest rates of cases for youth under 19 in Canada. That is a testament to the $1.6 billion investment our PC government made in staffing, PPE, cleaning, ventilation, testing, and comprehensive protocols approved by the Chief Medical Officer of Health, and the collective efforts of educators and parents working hard at this critical time.
Our PC government will continue to monitor the situation and take all action necessary to keep students, staff, and families safe.