For parents there is going to be one question: Is my child's teacher vaccinated? Unfortunately - it is not a question you are allowed to ask

By Pepper Parr

September 6th, 2021



Tomorrow morning when parents pack their children off to school or clear the dining room table and set them up for a virtual classroom they will begin the third years of living through a pandemic.

Classroom experiences will be different.

The Halton District School Board (HDSB) is as ready as it can be for the start of the school year.

Few fully appreciate that the HDSB has to comply with the guidance that comes from the province in terms of what they are required to deliver in the way of an education to the students.

The Board then has to coordinate with the Medical Officer of Health to ensure that the best practices are in place.

The province for their part seem to be always late getting out of the gate leaving the professionals who have to make it all work to continue to do “last minute” stuff

The Superintendents have to scramble to get the message down the line to the principals who will open the doors on Tuesday.

Board of Education cannot mandate that teachers need to be vaccinated – there is a mandatory vaccination disclosure policy.

That disclosure is confidential.

Don’t ask.

The Boards are required to advise the province how many people have been vaccinated, how many people are exempt and how many people chose not to be vaccinated and are being tested and going through an educational program.

The reporting to the province is done monthly. The first report will be sent in on September 10th.

The requirement to disclose applies to everyone: teachers, staff, volunteers, contract people working for the Board

The Rapid Tests those who chose not to be vaccinated are required to administer can be done at home and are paid for by the Board – they are not cheap.

The testing is to be done weekly.

The School boards report to the province and the province is understood to be publishing that information by September 10th – so we will know how many un-vaccinated people there are in the schools.

A teacher or teaching aide can choose not to be vaccinated.  So we have a teacher who is vaccinated who may have to work beside a teaching aide who has chosen not to be vaccinated and doesn’t have to tell anyone – other than the Board and that information is confidential.

Those who choose not to be vaccinated do have to undergo regular tests once a week – the test can be administered at home.

The testing kits come in boxes of 25 units.  The Board has to find a way to get those test units to those who chose not to be vaccinated without putting their personal private information at risk.

It might be like those sanitary napkin products that were wrapped in plain brown paper when I was a young man.

Councillor Shuttleworth wanted to know how long the Board would continue to pay for the testing kits – no one was able to give her an answer.

Milton Trustee Danielli wanted to know if a kindergarten teacher was vaccinated but the teaching aide was not vaccinated – did the teacher have to work with the unvaccinated person.

The rules are that no one is allowed to ask a person if they have been vaccinated.

Expect some blow back when this situation sinks into the minds of parents who are worried about what could happen to their child.

The Delta variant of Covid19 travels much more easily that previous variants.  The most recent report from the province for Saturday, September 3rd was: 807 new infections – six deaths.

Of those infected 628 were not vaccinated.

The Public Health people believe that the province is into a fourth wave and the Science Table has reported that numbers will rise in October when people will be indoors much more.

To add to the issues that have to be managed are the school buses.

Getting the buses out of the parking yard on time might be a bit of a problem the first couple of weeks.

There are enough drivers trained and in place – the problem is getting buses out of the yard they are parked in overnight.  First Student Transportation has their yard on Dundas where the Region is doing some major road work – there might be some delays in getting the buses out of the yard on time for them to make their rounds




Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

8 comments to For parents there is going to be one question: Is my child’s teacher vaccinated? Unfortunately – it is not a question you are allowed to ask

  • COVID 19 and the India variant’s ability to attack our bodies is the same in the UK as it is in Canada. So why the different policies when it comes to rapid testing un-vaccinated and vaccinated teachers. A conversation yesterday confirms this is the case. Vaccinated are also required to test before attending certain events. It is common sense that our unvaccinated children under 12 can be placed at risk in the school setting from anyone who can spread COVID-19. When the spreader is an asymptomatic vaccinated teacher, as the stats tell us can be the case, why is Ontario lagging behind the UK in ensuring the safety of our under 12 children not only from the exempt for vaccination but also from those who can and do take it into their homes from the workplace or outdoor gatherings. Definitely the risk is not as high in the vaccinated – but it still exists.

    Pepper Parr Editor of the Burlington Gazette was faced with having to submit to a test to get into his office. He accepted this was the thing to do even though he had been double vaccinated and questioned whether it was invasion of his privacy. Why do the Ontario/Canadian public health officials not understand the risks from both vaccinated and unvaccinated – no they are not as high, but they are still there. Or do they understand and are simply playing a game where the rules will change when they have the necessary target number of vaccinated individuals.

  • perryb

    This whole vaccination mess is due to a small number of clowns who demand that their personal entitlements must be preserved over that of their community, and an ever smaller number of politicians and bureaucrats who are afraid to step up. The previous generations who stepped up when the need arose (see world war two, etc) would be ashamed of their fellow citizens.

    • Philip Waggett

      I’m back supply teaching–I still love what I do in the classroom. And for the record, I’m fully vaccinated, I believe it’s the responsible thing to do given the scientific data that we have to date. However, I’m very troubled by the emerging scientific data–we can see that fully vaccinated people in Ontario are roughly 20% of the positive tests and some of these are being hospitalized. And yet we are not being told why? Are these people immuno-compromised? Are they an older cohort? Was their second vaccine administered 6 months ago? And this last question is essential–Israel’s fourth wave is now 40% fully vaccinated people and from the anecdotal reports I’ve read, it appears two factors are driving it–first, the Pfizer vaccine was created to fight the alpha variant and is somewhat less effective against delta (and who knows how effective it will be if the mu variant takes hold which is worse than delta); secondly, the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine may be lessening after 6 months. It’s why Israel is now giving all people 12 and older a booster shot; the USA will follow suit on September 20.

      The preceding discussion indicates that we should be a bit skeptical at using a person’s vaccination status as the definitive answer to creating safety at the present time. Likely better than unvaccinated but certainly not foolproof.

      • Hans Jacobs

        I agree that not enough data are being provided to describe the infection experiences of various population segments; e.g., by age, vaccination dates, type of vaccine, etc. But IMO “Likely better than unvaccinated” understates the clearly demonstrated benefits of vaccination, since vaccinated people who become infected very rarely need intensive care and a ventilator; instead, “likely” should be “obviously”.
        At this point in time and given the copious evidence in favour of vaccination, only a fool would reject vaccination and risk dying. Apparently there is no shortage of fools.

  • Hans Jacobs

    Re: “….no one is allowed to ask a person if they have been vaccinated.”
    I wonder if the plaintiff’s lawyer will be allowed to ask that question in court, if someone is adversely affected by acquiring infection at work or school.

    My grandfather died from the Spanish Influenza pandemic 102 years ago and it caused great hardship for his descendants, including my father. A vaccine had it existed, could have prevented that.
    IMO it’s everyone’s (with genuine medical reasons excepted) patriotic duty to help protect the rest of our society by getting vaccinated, the way we have always done it for smallpox, polio, etc.

  • Steve Shuta

    Regarding the headline…incorrect … You ‘can’ ask if the teacher is vaccinated. They do not have to disclose their status. There is a difference. I suggest if you do ask, in that they say it is personal, then you know the status.

    Editor’s note: We could perhaps have been a little clearer – no one with any authority can ask a person if they are vaccinated. It will be difficult for some to respect the privacy of someone else. This could get messy.

    • perryb

      good suggestion. Parents should take the position that while some people will wrap themselves in their right to privacy, parents have the right and duty to protect their children. So ask, and if the teacher declines to answer, assume the answer is ‘no, I am not’. Then the question becomes: what if a person lies about their status? Is that a firing offense? Have they broken some law? No wonder no one in authority wants to get involved !

    • Sharon

      Staff working in schools shouldn’t have an option of not being vaccinated. Children under 12 can not be vaccinated. So it’s ok for a teacher not to be vaccinated teaching the primary grades. If I was teacher or EA and found out that I was working with a unvaccinated person. I would refuse.
      If theses educators refuse to be vaccinated, they can pay for their weekly tests. I don’t see any reason why the tax payer should.