Ontario’s most notable doctor claims thousands of unvaccinated students will face different quarantine rules compared to the vaccinated students in September.
Dr. Kieran Moore reveals the area’s outbreak management plan for the new school year implements separate regulations based on vaccination status – and warned those who have yet to receive immunization will be forced to learn from home if they’re exposed to the virus.
Moore said that fully vaccinated staff and students would face little interruption from work or school if they were exposed to a “high-risk” carrier of the virus and test negative for COVID-19.
“Terrific advantage of being two-dose immunized by being able to stay in school and attend sports and participate fully in all of the social activities of the school setting,” Moore informed reporters during his weekly COVID-19 update.
Moore revealed that unvaccinated students and staff would immediately have to quarantine for a minimum of 10 days and present at least two negative COVID-19 tests, seven days apart, before resuming school.
“If that test on day seven is positive, you’re off for another 10 days,” Moore warned. “That is a potential of 20 days from schools directly because you weren’t immunized and because you’re infectious to others and putting others at risk.”
The warning comes as the region grapples to convince more than 300,000 eligible Ontario students to get their first round of immunization, despite adjusting the timeline between doses to 28 days after the first dose.
Even though the policy alteration had a dramatic effect on second doses, provincial statistics show fewer residents in the 12-to-17 age range were signing up for immunization over July. This is even though vaccine clinics started opening the doors for walk-in appointments.
Over July, demand for a second shot among youth soared by 500 percent. However, at the same time, demand for the first dose rose by just 13 percent.
Currently, with six weeks left for students to return to the classroom, provincial immunization data indicates 65 percent of youth aged 12 to 17 have received one shot, while 42 percent have been fully vaccinated.
Infectious disease expert Dr. Isaac Bogoch informed CP24 it has never been more convenient for the 333,000 eligible Ontario students yet to be immunized to get their vaccine.
“There’s a ton of vaccines available, there are walk-in appointments, these are readily available just about everywhere in the province,” Bogoch stated. “So if people are really wanting to be fully vaccinated before going back to school, now is the time to do it.”
To be fully vaccinated before the beginning of the school year, families will have to monitor the calendar.
For example, a student who got partial immunity on July 27 will be eligible for a second shot on Aug. 22, giving them the complete benefits of the Coronavirus vaccine days before schools reopen.
Marit Stiles, NDP Education Critic, is calling on the Doug Ford administration to “push, push, push” the vaccine ahead of the school resumes.
“The government has done very little to proactively push for that vaccination … they have not used all the tools at their disposal,” Stiles noted.