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Statement on the January 2022 return to school

1/2/2022

“In the midst of this most recent wave in the pandemic, we want to express our ongoing confidence in our public health system, and our appreciation for the incredible work of our healthcare workers and leaders. In order to support the common good, as a society we must continue to do what is necessary to fight this threat, including vaccination and a commitment to masking.

As we have expressed throughout the pandemic, providing the conditions for students to safely attend school in-person must be a top priority. To that end, we are recommending the following:

  • Priority should be given to students and all school staff to receive all of the vaccine doses for which they are eligible.
  • Consideration should be given to providing students and all school staff access to PCR testing in order to maintain confidence in school safety, and to minimize disruptions resulting from quarantining.
  • The additional PPE, including N95 masks, must be made available to school staff as soon as possible, and further clarity must be provided around which types of masks provide sufficient safety in the current environment.

We would also like to once again express our support for adding COVID-19 to the list of designated diseases in Ontario Regulation 261/13 Designated Diseases under the Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA).

We encourage all of our member school boards to continue to work very closely with their local public health units to ensure we are doing all we can to keep our schools as safe as possible under the circumstances.

Finally, we want to thank all of the dedicated education workers and leaders across our province for continuing to rise to the incredible challenges of this pandemic as they work to do the absolute best for our students.”

Cathy Abraham, OPSBA President

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