Unions representing Ontario teachers are calling for a mandatory vaccination policy for schools ahead of students’ return to class next month. Unions representing elementary, high school, Catholic and French teachers say the provincial policy requiring unvaccinated staff to get regular COVID-19 tests is not strict enough. The unions say a mandatory vaccination policy would provide greater protection against the spread of COVID-19 in schools and protect students — especially those under 12 who aren’t eligible for shots. They also note that details of the provincial plan are still being finalized with the new academic year starting in less than three weeks.
#OECTA, #AEFO, #ETFO, #OSSTF support mandatory vaccinations for #onted. Everyone working in, or attending a school who is eligible and can be safely vaccinated, should be vaccinated. The govt’s policy falls short of what’s needed.
— Catholic Teachers (@OECTAProv) August 18, 2021
You Must Wear A Mask To Vote Next Month Despite Identification Concerns:
Chief electoral officer Stephane Perrault says voters who refuse to wear a mask may be barred from polling stations on September 20th. He’s encouraging anyone who refuses to wear a mask to vote by mail instead. Elections Canada has decided it will not require poll workers to be fully vaccinated. Perrault is defending the decision on the grounds strict safety measures will be in place and says those safety measures may be adjusted before election day. It’s not clear how polling station staff will be able to verify someone’s identity if they are wearing a face covering.
Expect to see health and safety measures at the polls and at local Elections Canada offices. These include mask-wearing, physical distancing, and physical barriers to ensure in-person voting is safe for everyone. 2/
— Elections Canada (@ElectionsCan_E) August 18, 2021
Mixed Results on the Distance Learning Option:
The number of students opting for virtual learning in the upcoming school year varies widely across the province as the fourth wave of the pandemic takes hold. The Toronto District School Board says 14 per cent of its students have opted to learn remotely come September — just slightly less than the numbers at the neighbouring the Peel District board. But other boards are reporting much lower numbers, including Limestone District School Board based out of Kingston, where only two per cent of students will learn remotely when school resumes. And only about six per cent have chosen the option at the Halton District School Board, headquartered in Burlington, and the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board.
The Toronto Beer Fest is Still Happening:
Beer Fest is returning to Toronto this fall but all attendees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The festival’s organizers say the event will be held in Bandshell Park at Toronto’s Exhibition Place on September 24th and 25th. All fans, vendors, crew, suppliers, artists, and partners will be required to show proof of vaccination. Organizers say the email receipt sent by Ontario’s Ministry of Health after receiving a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine must be used to gain admission.
Americans Will Be Getting A Booster Shot:
Health officials in the US have announced plans to provide COVID-19 booster shots to all Americans to shore up their protection amid the surging Delta variant and evidence that the vaccines’ effectiveness is falling. The plan outlined by the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other top health authorities calls for booster doses eight months after second shots of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. The shots could begin the week of September 20th. The World Health Organization is critical of the plan, saying wealthy countries shouldn’t be handing out booster shots while poorer ones struggle to vaccinate their people.
It’s simple: Eight months after your second shot, get your booster shot. pic.twitter.com/Vg6kc6RPcy
— President Biden (@POTUS) August 19, 2021
The WHO is Very Concerned About Giving Booster Shots Right Now:
The World Health Organization is warning of even more dire situations if high-income countries start giving COVID-19 booster vaccines. The WHO is sharply critical of US health officials, who are now recommending booster shots for all fully vaccinated Americans, saying leaving billions of people unvaccinated could lead to the emergence of new variants. The WHO says 10 countries have administered 75 per cent of the total vaccine supply, while low-income countries have vaccinated barely two per cent of their people.
Disney Now Says Masks Are Optional:
Walt Disney World is tweaking its face mask policy. Starting today, the Florida theme park will allow visitors to chose whether or not to wear face coverings in outdoor lines, outdoor theatres and outdoor attractions. They previously had been required. Face coverings will still be required for visitors age 2 and up at all indoor locations, such as restaurants, theatres and transportation with the exception of ferry boats.
Ontario reported 485 new cases of COVID-19 and three more deaths yesterday, mainly among those who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated. Health Minister Christine Elliott said 309 of the new cases were in unvaccinated people and 41 were in partially vaccinated individuals. The province has seen an upward trend in daily infections driven by the highly contagious Delta variant, and Ontario’s top doctor warned yesterday that people are facing, “a difficult fall.” 81 per cent of Ontarians aged 12 and older have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 73 per cent have both shots.
There are 485 new cases of COVID-19. 309 cases are in unvaccinated individuals and 41 in partially vaccinated individuals.
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) August 18, 2021
Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:
Waterloo Region Public Health says there were 13 new cases yesterday and 1 new death. Active cases dropped by 4 to 133. There are still 16 people hospitalized.
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health says there were 5 new cases yesterday although Wellington, Wellington and Dufferin all reported zero new cases so it’s not clear where those infections came from. Active cases have dropped to 32. There is 1 person hospitalized.
The Province has announced that youth who are turning 12 in 2021 are now eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
— WDG Public Health (@WDGPublicHealth) August 18, 2021
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: OECTA via Twitter