Local ETFO President Applauds New COVID-19 Education Sector Policies


The local president of the Elementary Teacher's Federation of Ontario (ETFO) is applauding recent updates to the provinces COVID-19 policies in the education sector.

Mario Spagnuolo says one of the big things is that anyone born in 2009 is now eligible for a vaccine.

"We've been hearing from parents that have children that were born in September, October through to December that were anxiously awaiting such an announcement and I know that they'll be lined up to get their first dose of the vaccine so that's a welcome announcement," he says. "I'm glad they [provincial government] took the time to make the decision from a public health perspective."

As announced on Tuesday, employers in health and education will need to have policies that ask staff to disclose their vaccination status and require those who are unvaccinated to take an education session and be subject to regular tests.

Spagnuolo says they welcome any additional measures of protection that are put into place.

"Teachers from day one of this pandemic have followed the guidance of our doctors and medical professionals," says Spagnuolo.  "We have taken every precaution to ensure the safety of students and staff in our schools, so we will work with the school board to understand how this can be implemented."

He says he understands this is a new policy so there will be wrinkles to iron out but calls it a step in the right direction.

"I do want to remind parents that 90 to 95 per cent of teachers from our statistics that we've been gathering, have already received both vaccinations and are ready to go for September start up. I think it's going to impact maybe five to 10 per cent of our member ship but it's still a move in the right direction," he says/

The province's new policies stop short of mandating vaccines for workers in frontline, high-risk jobs - something health worker groups and other advocates had been calling for.

Staff and students are slated to be back in the classroom on September 7.

— with files from AM800's Rob Hindi