TORONTO – With the Ontario government prioritizing parents’ decisions when vaccinating their children, there is very little information on school vaccination rates to help them understand the risks.
Only one health unit in Ontario publishes a breakdown of vaccination rates by school – Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, with numbers ranging from 82.4 percent with at least one dose in a public school to 28.4 percent in a Christian private school.
“Safety has to come first, and knowing that percentage they can go to school or choose online if there is a lower percentage,” said Linda Rice, speaking at the Kimberley Junior Public School on Main Street in Toronto. “You should be able to do this without invading privacy – it’s just numbers, a percentage of the kids.”
Toronto is among the majority of health entities that do not publish this data – so CTV News Toronto made a neighborhood-level estimate of COVID-19 vaccination rates and last year’s TDSB enrollment numbers to be an estimate of vaccination rates for Toronto city public schools.
Our high school estimates ranged from about 87 percent who were vaccinated with at least one dose at the Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute to only 51 percent at Yorkdale Secondary School.
In the lower grades, the proportion of children under the age of 12 who cannot be vaccinated turned out to be the largest predictor of our estimate of a school’s vaccination rates.
That was up to 48 percent at King Edward Junior and Senior School to zero for schools that were not eligible.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore that students from grades 1 to 12 must wear masks, but that life would largely normalize, which would enable clubs and even indoor contact sports.
“I don’t expect any other approach, whether a child is vaccinated or unvaccinated. We don’t know their vaccine status, ”said Moore.
Education Minister Stephen Lecce said vaccines are not mandatory for eligible students and school staff, although this is the province’s best chance to avoid a fourth wave.
“The government has made a decision regarding vaccine regulation, and we are not. We will respect parents’ choices, ”he said.
The Ontario government website describes the law as follows: “Children attending elementary and secondary school must be vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, meningitis, whooping cough, and chickenpox, be it because, they have a valid exemption “. .
Parents must provide evidence of their child’s vaccination status to the local health department and keep the vaccination status up to date.
“Children who are not vaccinated have an increased risk of disease,” it says on the website.
However, public health officials said that children can be partially protected when their family members and teachers are vaccinated, and that widespread vaccination rates are a “cornerstone” of a strategy that includes sensible health interventions.
“When it gets colder, we really need to adhere to common sense measures such as:
The Ontario Department of Education told CTV News Toronto in a statement that it plans to release more information on what to do at a school in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak.
In addition to the health and safety guidelines for the 2021-22 school year, the Chief Medical Officer of Health will provide updated guidelines for COVID-19 outbreak management in schools. The details will be finalized in consultation with the local health authorities and will be published shortly, ”the statement said.
Speaking near the Kimberley Junior Public School, Janice Fong’s son Aiden said he was excited to be returning to school this fall “because I want to see my friends.”
Fong himself was a little more cautious, saying, “I hope they have the right protocols to prevent the virus from spreading through schools.”