Last week, Ontario announced new measures to ramp up health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among these latest measures is that anyone born in 2009 and later is now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine and local clinics are now taking walk-ins eligible people.
Education workers working in high-risk settings and who are not vaccinated will now be frequently required to be tested against the virus.
The new vaccination policies must be implemented no later than Sep. 7. However, school boards in the Waterloo Region currently do not have details available about how these policies would impact local schools. They are also still finalizing its COVID-19 outbreak and case management plan. The union representing elementary teachers also remains concerned for their members and the younger children who still aren’t eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
“The reality is we still want to see smaller classroom sizes, we still want to see ventilation to improve and we want to see rapid testing for those who may be unvaccinated but also for students to ensure that when they’re coming into the buildings in September everybody is protected and safe,” Jeff Pelic, a member of the Waterloo Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, said to CTV.
On Monday, local health officials declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Waterloo campus. According to a notice on the university’s website, two positive cases were reported in employees on Aug. 15 and Aug. 18. Those two individuals are now isolating along with anyone identified as a high-risk contact.
This fall term, WLU and UW will require all students, staff and faculty returning to campus to be fully vaccinated or have plans to be fully vaccinated with an approved COVID-19 vaccine. Conestoga College will require vaccination for all students living in residence, as well as all students in varsity sports for the Fall term.
As of August 25, Waterloo health officials have confirmed 18,796 total cases of COVID-19, including approximately 288 deaths. Approximately 136 cases are considered active in the Region.