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Teachers' frustration boiling over as government delays vaccinations

'The concern is will the government have a policy in place for educators to get the second dosage before students return in September'
Photo: Empty classroom/iStock

 The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario says frustration is mounting after teachers were told by the Ontario government that vaccinations were being delayed, after they were promised for today.

The Ministry of Education issued a statement last week that all teachers and education workers would be eligible for the Covid-19 vaccinations today, Monday, May 3.

But in a government memorandum this morning, the date had been pushed back until Thursday.

"It would seem Ford's lack of direction, planning, and implementation is once again on full display," Rob Hammond, ETFO President, Near North Teacher's Local told BayToday.

Education staff eligible to book vaccination appointments include any school board staff or student transportation partners who typically work in-person in elementary and secondary schools, including educators, custodial staff, administrative staff, and school bus drivers.

The expectation of booking a shot today was very well received by members, says Hammond, because they are so keen to get vaccinated.

"The problem is this morning the world had changed and the teachers were not going to be eligible until the sixth, so again this is the government walking back statements they've made in the media about what their vaccine rollout is."

That has led to increased frustration by teachers.

"It's the government's continuous flip-flopping on decision making," says Hammond. 

"The biggest frustration is they hummed and hawed then moved the March break into April and then said they may have to  move the break again, decided we would possibly go to online learning, and then said 'no, we'll be back in schools.' The Minister of Education issued a declaration after all of our members were on vacation. They said we'd be going back to in-person learning only to have the Premier overturn that decision the very next day and say the entire province was going online. So our schools and school boards were left scrambling."

Hammond says teachers weren't given the time to transition to fully prepare.

"I'd don't think they've had a policy on education right from the very beginning. They continuously ignored the advice of medical officers. We need smaller class sizes. That would control the spread. We also need all of our educators vaccinated as soon as possible."

Hammond says it's great that teachers are going to have an opportunity to get vaccinated.

"The concern is will the government have a policy in place for educators to get the second dosage before students return in September."

Jeff Turl

About the Author: Jeff Turl

Jeff is a veteran of the news biz. He's spent a lengthy career in TV, radio, print and online, covering both news and sports. He enjoys free time riding motorcycles and spoiling grandchildren.
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