931 elementary students in Waterloo suspended from school by public health
Suspended students did not provide public health with updated immunization records
Waterloo Region's public health department has suspended 931 elementary students students for failing to update their immunization records.
"We sent the list to the school today," David Aoki, manager of immunization records, said Tuesday morning. "So, the schools will be enforcing the suspensions starting this morning."
Aoki said parents of affected students received two notifications earlier this year, including one legal suspension order four weeks ago.
"The reaction is never good on this day. People are upset that their children are suspended," he said. "Unfortunately, for us, it's necessary because it's a legal act by the Ministry of Health in Ontario."
Public health units in Ontario are required to keep updated records and to suspend students who do not update their records, according to the Immunization of School Pupils Act.
"There are certainly arguments that can be had for different ways of doing it, but the government of Ontario has said this is the way we want public heath units to go about making sure our records are up to date."
Aoki said public health generally suspends between 500 and 600 elementary students every April; however, he said the department has suspended as many as 1,200 students in the past.
"One of the factors to consider with this year is we didn't actually suspend last year. So, we were expecting higher numbers going in, because we just didn't do the whole catch up system last year."
Suspensions last 20 days, but students can shorten the duration by providing public health with the required information. Parents are encouraged to call the department or visit one of public health's walk-in immunization clinics.