On Wednesday nthe Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board (HPEDSB) called upon Premier Doug Ford to immediately make priority to get front line education workers vaccinated sooner rather than later.
The Board filed the request via email and noted that in weekly teleconferences involving school board chairs and Minister of Education Stephen Lecce, the topic of vaccinations is brought to his attention on a regular basis.
“I believe Minister Lecce when he says that he is advocating at the table for school board front line workers as often and as best he can,” expressed Lucille Kyle, HPEDSB Chair in a statement. “He has also made it very clear that the reasons for the delays are due to a lack of vaccine supply, not that the government is holding back on us. Having access to the vaccine sooner than later makes sense as we keep ahead of the pandemic with hopes never to become a hotspot region.”
Chair Kyle went on to state that even though the Hastings and Prince Edward regions are lower risk for COVID-19 than other areas of the province, Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health for this area and his team, as well as HPEDSB health and safety team, have been doing all they can to maintain and ensure everyones safety.
“Even when Dr. Oglaza’s feet have been put to the fire by constituents and others, he stands on the merit that he is waiting for the Ministry of Education to lead,” Kyle said. “I feel confident in saying that I believe our local MPPs, Todd Smith and Daryl Kramp, would both agree our people are doing their best to follow the guidelines you have set before us.”
Kyle went on to express concerns to Ford for staff and families in HPEDSB and how it’s a daily struggle for them with worry and anxiety without having the vaccine.
“Our staff and families are struggling daily with worry and anxiety,” stated Kyle. “They have students and children who need their support, yet the risk of losing their own lives hangs over them like a dark cloud. When you changed the vaccination age to 40 and older yesterday, it opened the doors for stay-at-home people to have a vaccination when there are still front line workers who have not even had the opportunity.”
In the letter to Ford, Kyle asked him to make an immediate priority for all front-line teachers and staff to have vaccines to help get kids back in classrooms faster to have some normalcy back.
“I am asking you to make it an immediate priority for all front-line teachers and staff to have vaccines before any more changes in the offer,” Kyle expressed in the letter. “If education really matters, then we need to take care of our workers. People are giving up. So many parents do not have the capacity to continue on the way we are going. Students are becoming more disengaged every day. Having our staff feel safe, appreciated and getting our students back into seats at school is the only way we will be able to find normality and healing.”
For more information on HPEDSB please visit https://www.hpedsb.on.ca