Public health units, school boards to work together to ensure school-focused clinics are accessible
Ontario is working with public health units and publicly funded school boards to plan and host vaccination clinics in or nearby schools ahead of the coming academic year.
These clinics will run before school starts and during the first few weeks of school, according to the government.
“We have made tremendous progress getting students, staff and their families vaccinated – they are critical to protecting schools and keeping our communities safe,” said Stephen Lecce, minister of education. “As part of the last mile campaign to reach as many students and staff as possible and to keep schools as safe as possible, we are requiring school boards and public health units to roll out clinics in or close to schools.
“By making vaccines more accessible, and with a cautious reopening in September following the expert advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, we will further bolster our fight against COVID-19 and variants.”
School-focused clinics will be aimed at youth, their families, and education staff who have not yet received a first or second dose. Public health units and school boards will work together to ensure school-focused clinics are accessible, work for their communities, and adhere to health and safety guidance.
Clinics can either be on school property or be off-site in partnership with school boards and operate like any other vaccine clinic. School-focused clinics can operate before, during, or after school hours.
School-focused vaccination clinics will support increased uptake for eligible students, as well as education staff, and a safer return to school in the fall, according to the government.
Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 begin wearing masks indoors once again in places with high transmission rates.
As of August 15, more than 69 per cent of youth aged 12 to17 have received a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 56 per cent have received a second dose.
With regards to vaccination in the clinics, COVID-19 vaccines will only be provided if the recipient, including students, provides consent. Health care providers, the school, and families must respect a young person’s decision regarding vaccination, according to the government.
Ontario is also advising parents and guardians to discuss vaccination with their children prior to attending a school vaccination clinic.