The Ontario government announced Wednesday that Ontario elementary and high school students will be returning to in-person learning on Monday January 17.
Vaccination is the province’s best defence against the highly transmissible Omicron variant. Current vaccination rates among children aged 12 to 17 years old are above 82 per cent having received two doses. Of children aged five to 11 years old, nearly 50 percent have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
To encourage vaccination for children aged 5 to 11, the government has asked school boards to work with local Public Health Units (PHUs) to add school-day vaccination clinics for students (i.e. during instructional hours). School boards are also expected to work with local PHUs and share documents and other information with families, such as resources available at https://covid-19.ontario.ca/covid-19-vaccines-children-and-youth.
In the coming days, parents will receive a form offering the opportunity to vaccinate their child at a school-based vaccine clinic.
Beginning the week of January 17, the Ontario government will also provide rapid antigen tests for students and staff in public elementary and secondary schools, along with children and staff in child care settings. The use of the tests is for symptomatic individuals, who will be required to take two rapid tests 24 hours apart, and upon negative results can return to class.You can view the government’s announcement here.