Clarification - Use of schools as vaccine clinics

Clarification - Use of schools as vaccine clinics
Posted on 10/13/2021
Clarification - Use of schools as vaccine clinics

In response to some misinformation circulating on social media relating to the  OCDSB Committee of the Whole Meeting on October 12, we felt it was important to clarify the District’s position on school based vaccine clinics. 

A motion was discussed which called for the OCDSB to “work with Ottawa Public Health towards a goal of ensuring every eligible student has the opportunity to get fully vaccinated through a school-based clinic should they not already be vaccinated”. Staff explained that the OCDSB is already actively working with OPH to support vaccine clinics for students; the clinics are held in both community buildings and schools, based on community needs, demographics and availability.

At one point in the discussion, a question was raised about the possibility of the use of mobile clinics in schools. In response, OCDSB Education Director Camille Williams-Taylor clarified responsibility for vaccine clinics with the following statement:

I think it’s important that we recognize that it is Ottawa Public Health that is the lead agency here, not the District. But one of the things that we have already demonstrated is full willingness and cooperation to partner with Public Health in the ideas and approaches that they undertake because from community to community, site to site, location to location, how those [vaccination] clinics will operate will be different and I think we need to be careful that we are not usurping the experience as well as the expertise of Ottawa Public Health by presuming to know where it is and how it is that these clinics are being offered. I reiterate our commitment and our collaboration with Public Health to ensure that we are helping them to meet the goal of vaccination for all eligible students.”       

This motion was debated by trustees and was not approved. Statements which suggest that the trustees voted against hosting school-based vaccine clinics is a mischaracterization of the debate, the decision and the work that is currently underway. The OCDSB continues to collaborate with Ottawa Public Health to support vaccine awareness and clinics in community buildings and/or schools.

Those interested in learning more can watch the debate on YouTube (starting at the 1:53:50 mark):

We also continue to encourage all individuals who are eligible to receive a vaccine to get your shot as soon as possible. More information is available on the Ottawa Public Health vaccination page here. 

We would like to express our appreciation to families and students for their continued support, and our particular thanks to our staff who continue to work so hard under such challenging circumstances to ensure students can attend a safe in-person learning environment.

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