LETTER FROM TRUSTEES RE: ACCESS TO VACCINATIONS FOR FRONTLINE EDUCATION WORKERS

Dear Lakehead Public Schools families and staff,
You are invited to view a letter composed by the Trustees of Lakehead District School Board to Premier Ford, Minister Elliott, Minister Lecce, Dr. Williams, and Dr. DeMille. The letter calls for the availability and accessibility of vaccines for frontline education workers. Please view letter below:

April 9, 2021

SENT BY EMAIL

Honourable Doug Ford
Premier of Ontario
Legislative Building, Queens Park
Toronto, ON M7A 1A1

Honourable Christine Elliott
Minister of Health
5th Floor, 777 Bay Street
Toronto, ON M7A 2J3

Honourable Stephen Lecce
Ontario Ministry of Education
5th Floor, 438 University Avenue,
Toronto, ON M5G 2K8

Dr. David Williams
Chief Medical Officer of Health
21st Floor, 393 University Avenue
Toronto, ON M5G 2M2

Dr. Janet DeMille
Medical Officer of Health & Chief Executive Officer
Thunder Bay District Health Unit
999 Balmoral Street
Thunder Bay, ON P7B 6E7

Dear Premier Ford, Minister Elliott, Minister Lecce, Dr. Williams, and Dr. DeMille:
I am writing to you today on behalf of the Lakehead District School Board (LDSB) to express
concerns regarding the availability and accessibility of vaccinations for all frontline education
workers.

Your recent announcement was important regarding moving up frontline education workers in
the vaccine roll-out but we want to ensure that all areas of the province will be included.
In Thunder Bay, cases of COVID-19 have significantly increased over the last few months, to
the point where many cohorts and whole school communities were required to move to virtual
learning on a regular basis. To protect students, staff, and the community, Dr. DeMille
instructed all local school boards to move to virtual instruction only. We are presently ending our
sixth week of all schools operating virtually.

Though the move to virtual learning was crucial, we hope that it is a temporary measure and that students can safely return to in-person learning on April 19, 2021. In order for this to occur in the safest manner possible, it is necessary for all frontline education workers to have the opportunity to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations. It is especially critical that education workers, such as Student Support Professionals, that are required to work in-person with students that may have exceptions to wearing masks, are prioritized in the vaccination roll-out.

As such, the Lakehead District School Board is asking the Province of Ontario to enhance the availability and accessibility of COVID-19 vaccines, including giving precedence to all frontline education workers as the highest priority in the Phase 2 roll-out of vaccines.

Prioritizing the vaccination of frontline education workers is beneficial to the community as a whole as it enables students to return to in-person learning safely and relieves the stress of many parents and guardians who are struggling to access proper childcare and supports. We have received many requests from parents and guardians to return to offering in-person learning to support the mental health of their children and families. We cannot return to normal classes safely without your support in this endeavour.

We look forward to education workers being a priority for vaccinations.

Sincerely,

Ellen Chambers, Chair Lakehead District School Board
Trustee Trudy Tuchenhagen, Vice-Chair
Trustee Arnone
Trustee Doughty-Smith
Trustee Oikonen
Trustee Saarinen
Trustee Sitch
Trustee Wemigwans
Indigenous Student Trustee Keira Essex
Student Trustee Simran Talpade
cc: Deputy Minister, Nancy Naylor
MPP Michael Gravelle
MPP Judith Monteith-Farrell
Cathy Abraham, President, OPSBA
TJ Goertz, Senior Communications & Policy Officer, OPSBA
Michael Judge, President, LETO
Rich Seeley, President, OSSTF
Rod McGee, President, CUPE
Diana Baker, President COPE
Kari Simpson, President SSPs
Shelley Crupi, President ECEs

 

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