Most Local Education Workers Left Out of First Round of COVID Vaccinations

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The majority of education workers in Windsor-Essex have been left out of the province's plan to speed up COVID-19 vaccinations for school staff.

Starting next week, all special education staff across Ontario will be eligible, but only teachers in hot spots can get the shot — and that does not include Windsor-Essex.

Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation District 9 President Erin Roy says, while it's good our region is not considered a hot spot, it's frustrating for the teachers itching to get vaccinated.

She says the good news is a plan is now in place.

"We've been advocating for vaccines for education workers for months now. So some good news. All education workers in Toronto and Peel with have vaccine availability to them over the April break. I'm glad to hear that at least there's some vaccine availability for education workers, but we still have a long way to go."

Roy says vaccinating special education workers first was the right call.

"I would prefer to have the members that are working with students that can't mask, can't socially distance; the special education populations where they're having to be toileted similar to a health care setting. They do need to be prioritized. So if that's the first wave then that's great, but I hope that the next isn't a long time coming."

She says time is of the essence.

"For the sake of our staff, but also for our students. So the sooner we can get those vaccines, especially if they're a two part vaccine, we don't want to put September in jeopardy. I think everybody is just kind of resigned to the fact that this school year will be the way that it is, but if we can get some normalcy back for September 2021, we'll take it."

The first round of teacher vaccines will roll out in the Toronto and Peel regions and, if supply allows, will expand to other hot spots in York, Ottawa, Halton, Durham and Hamilton.

There's no word yet when Windsor-Essex education staff will become eligible.

— with files from AM800's Rob Hindi

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