25 signatures reached
To: The Ontario Ministry of Education, Minister Lecce and Premier Ford
Vaccinate Teachers Returning to the Classroom Frontline!
Dear Minister Lecce and Premier Ford,
UNESCO, the United Nations agency for education, called on governments to give teachers priority access to COVID-19 vaccines.
It is essential that Ontario educators are vaccinated before they can safely return to work in schools, particularly in the province's hotspot regions. Over 160 thousand public teachers in Ontario need to be recognized as "essential, frontline workers," who face the daily risk of exposure to a life-threatening virus in their workplace.
Currently, there are over 7000 Covid cases in Ontario schools, that's 20 % of schools, not including asymptomatic students uncounted because of insufficient testing. The political narrative that claims "children are incapable of spreading the virus," is becoming more and more questionable. In fact, it appears that the majority of Covid cases in schools are potentially spreading between asymptomatic student carriers.
Take a look at the initial testing of asymptomatic elementary students in the hotspot area of Thorncliffe Park. The first day of Covid testing exposed a massive outbreak amongst elementary students, which now stands at 50 cases. Kudos to the three brave teachers who refused to work in this unsafe environment, ultimately forcing the school into closure.
The frightening truth is this: asymptomatic outbreaks are probable throughout the schools, particularly in hotspot areas. Without asymptomatic testing however, the government can continue the narrative that schools are safe, that children's mental health is more important than their physical safety - and ultimately justify the political agenda to keep the economy open. Indeed, our economy is important, but how can the economic agenda take precedence over protecting lives?
Teachers and students are expected to return to school during the current provincial lockdown, to bravely "step up," and face the increasing risk of contracting the Coronavirus. The government has repeatedly defended the safety of our schools remaining open, using rhetoric that downplays increasing virus case-counts inside schools, as simply a reflection of the increased numbers in the community. Wouldn't that indicate schools are also unsafe? There's this rationalized myth, that schools are magically exempt from the spread and dangers of this virus, because "children can't spread the virus," that, hand sanitizer and safety screening will make up for overcrowded and poorly ventilated classrooms, that increasing Covid spread, overwhelmed hospital ICU's, rising deaths, are scary enough to lockdown the entire province to protect it's citizens, but schools are magically safe? The fact is, science does not know.
I ask you Minister Lecce and Premier Ford, how can you honestly and ethically justify sending teachers and students back into a clearly unsafe school environment without protection? Is it not your responsibility to ensure the safety of your citizens, their families and ultimately our children?
Our healthcare heroes, our vulnerable seniors, and those who are medically at risk, clearly take vaccination, precedence - but our teachers also need to be prioritized in the line-up for vaccinations. They actually need you to "step up" and do your part - either prioritize vaccination for educators - or move everyone to virtual learning!
Why is this important?
UNESCO, the United Nations agency for education, has called on governments to give teachers priority access to COVID-19 vaccines. Throughout this pandemic, Ontario teachers continue to put their lives at risk because they love what they do and they care deeply for their students. Health and safety is essential to keep our schools and daycares open and allow our economy to operate. Educators warrant protection from exposure to a life-threatening illness in their work environment, as do their students and families.
Our government has refused to acknowledge the facts, that schools are increasingly unsafe with currently over 7000 Covid cases and numerous school outbreaks and closures. Science, at present, simply does not know what is safe, and the government has not prioritized the safety of educators over the economy.
Teachers will continue to perform their professional due diligence, but our democratic government also has a responsibility to protect it's citizens - at least this is what we teach our students. Our healthcare heroes, our vulnerable seniors, and those who are medically at risk, clearly take vaccination, precedence, but our teachers also need to be prioritized in the line-up for vaccinations. They are essential - on the classroom frontline - and they are indispensable members of our community!
How it will be delivered
This petition will be hand delivered to Minister Lecce and Premier Ford at the Legislative Assembly with the help of an MPP. Does anyone know any who will support this petition?
Thank you, our voice matters!