Dedicated COVID-19 Booster Clinics for Education and Child Care Staff Will Help Improve Access
|Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, issued the following statement on additional measures and supports to protect children, staff, and families as Ontario responds to the Omicron variant:
“As part of our government’s response to the Omicron variant, we are providing greater access to COVID-19 booster shots for education and child care staff. Starting tomorrow, these staff in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area will have planned access to vaccines at the International Centre in Mississauga as we work with all other public health units to urgently set up more clinics across Ontario. This is in addition to existing vaccine clinics with dedicated access for education and child care staff, including for example at CHEO in Ottawa, and select City of Toronto run clinics.
We are also further strengthening our protections for child care centres by introducing additional safety measures, including stricter screening protocols and deploying non-fit-tested N95 masks to support frontline workers.
Throughout this pandemic, critical staff on the frontlines have continued to carry out their work – from nurses, to personal support workers, to grocery workers and pharmacists – so that we can protect our communities. We owe it to them to ensure their children are cared for during this period, which is why our government is once again providing these frontline and critical workers with free emergency child care for their school-aged children. We thank education and child care staff, operators, and all Ontario families for their hard work, vigilance and kindness through this incredibly difficult time.”
Acceleration of COVID-19 Boosters
To accelerate access to vaccines, starting January 7, the provincial mass vaccination clinic at the International Centre in Mississauga will support priority booking for education staff, including educators, custodial staff, administrative staff, and school bus drivers, and child care staff. The clinic will operate seven days a week, with specific appointments being made available for education and child care staff from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Eligible staff are encouraged to book their appointment through the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line at 1-833-943-3900.
For individuals living outside the GTHA, the Ontario government is working with all public health units (PHUs) to plan and provide access to third doses for education and child care staff. Local PHUs will provide further information on how vaccines can be accessed in their communities as it becomes available. School boards have an opportunity to use schools as a site for vaccination clinics together with PHU partners.
These measures being announced today build on the government’s previous efforts and investments to improve safety in schools during the pandemic. Measures currently in place include:
Child Care Safety Measures
All child care settings have continuously received quality PPE, additional funding for cleaning, and updated protocols and guidance for staff and families.
The below measures have also been put in place to ensure children, staff, and communities remain as safe as possible:
The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health are working together with an aim of making more rapid-antigen tests available to support the ongoing operations of child-care centres, and schools when they return to in-person learning.
Emergency Child Care Eligibility
Starting January 10, 2022, the following workers are eligible for free emergency child care: