The Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) is urging provincial governments to ensure they are included on priority lists for the COVID-19 vaccine in order to ensure students can remain, or, in some cases, return to the classroom.
With the virus spreading at alarmingly rapid rates in Ontario, students in Southern Ontario have not returned to class since the holiday break, resulting in many parents scrambling to figure out how they’ll balance their childrens’ education and their jobs.
“Vaccinating teachers would add an additional layer of protection for students and staff, thus contributing to schools either staying safely open or safely reopening as we brace this uncertain winter and the coming spring amidst increased rates of infection,” Shelley L. Morse, president of the CTF, said in a news release.
Additionally, while schools have tried to implement physical distancing measures, maintaining sufficient physical distancing to prevent transmission of the virus is nearly impossible given the size of classrooms and the number of students in each room.
“Teachers and education workers are frontline workers without frontline worker protection. We are failing educators, and the students in their care, if they are not prioritized as we move forward” Morse said.
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Further, with children a low priority when it comes to receiving the vaccine, teachers are even more at risk of contracting it while at work.