Mayor John Tory calls Toronto District School Board’s decision to extend the deadline for staff and students to get vaccinated against measles ‘reasonable’
Mayor John Tory on Monday endorsed the Toronto District School Board’s decision to extend the deadline for staff and students to be fully vaccinated against measles, saying it was “reasonable” in light of new laws banning foreign-born children from schools.
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The board announced last week that it would extend its “safe zone” protection from the virus to August 1, rather than June 30 as planned. It is required by new laws passed earlier this month to do so.
Tory first raised the issue at an announcement with Ontario Public School Boards Association’s CEO Jane Fraser last week. In a release on Monday, Tory repeated that the extension was “reasonable” in light of the incoming new rules, which would prevent families from applying for school entrance for their foreign-born children.
“I think it’s reasonable at this point in time that we have to extend the deadline for staff and students to be fully vaccinated,” Tory said. “But we’ll make those decisions on a case-by-case basis for families with children who are applying for a place in school.”
While Tory said there was “a wonderful deal of confusion” around the issue, he said he understood the appeal of “many parents who may have concerns about the way the school system works, but I think that the vast majority of parents would like to see that safe zone extended”.
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Fraser applauded the extension but added that she expected the TDSB to remain rigid in its no-child rule. “The problem is not necessarily people not being able to get vaccines but the school system would not be prepared to cope with all the refugees that might come from the United States,” she said.
Members of the Stop the Safe Zone policy’s co-chair Corinne Layfield said they were “moved” by Tory’s comments, but that he had not done enough to turn the pressure up on the board and its approval of the delay was a “blatant denial of the health of their students and staff”.
“Providing a reasonable health measure where an ability to vaccinate a child is a condition of entering a school, TDSB can be no more or less reasonable than when we run for school,” she said.
Last week, the president of the Ontario Nurses’ Association Karen Matthews noted that the TDSB kept the challenge “under wraps” last fall, and that the association “does not believe this postponement is reasonable”.
One person has been infected with measles in Toronto in the last two months. The man was infectious as recently as 15 days ago and has since been discharged from hospital.