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Move teachers closer to the next section on vaccines: unions




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Teachers’ unions in Ontario want the government to order full virtual learning where COVID-19 numbers are rising and to prioritize vaccination educators along with other essential workers.

The Ontario Elementary Teachers Federation (ETFO) and the British Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA) issued the call on Monday even though both unions oppose the principles of governments’ virtual lesson plans.

The benefits of in-person learning are clear, which is why the education community is completely against the Ford governments’s plans to make virtual learning a new normal post-pandemic, OECTA President Liz Stuart said in a statement.

But until proper health and safety measures are put in place, including vaccinating teachers and education staff, it is simply not safe for schools to stay open, especially in hot regions.

The ETFO stressed that the transition to full-time virtual learning should be undertaken in hotspots on a temporary basis.


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Ontario has reported 13,278 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in schools, including 2,487 in the past two weeks.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce has said a delayed March break will go ahead on April 12, but schools will reopen to teach in person next week.

Peel Region, one of those areas with high COVID-19 numbers, is deciding to close its schools.

Ontario has deployed essential workers, including teachers, in phase two of its vaccine priority framework, which is scheduled to take place between April and July depending on supply.

Vaccinations of education workers should be a priority given the negligent decision of governments to keep schools open without additional security measures, the ETFO says.

The government says it has spent millions of dollars to increase student safety and has been assured by public health officials that schools are not a significant source of infection and their closure poses a threat to students’ physical and mental well-being.

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