Students with out-of-date immunization records won't be suspended this spring

Region of Waterloo Public Health says it will not be sending out suspension notices for students who do not have up-to-date immunization records this spring, as efforts will be allocated to region's COVID-19 response.

Public health says its to allow staff to coordinate, implement COVID-19 response in the region

Waterloo region public health says it will not be suspending students who don't have up-to-date immunization records this spring to allow staff to work on the region's COVID-19 response. (Chanss Lagaden/CBC)

As the region continues its response to COVID-19, public health says it will postpone enforcing up-to-date immunization records and will not send suspension notices to students this spring.

David Aoki, manager of vaccine preventable disease at Waterloo region public health, said the spring is one of the agency's busiest times of year.

"It's all the work that we do ahead of time to try and reach out to parents and get ahold of parents to get the records up-to-date so we don't have to suspend," he said.

Instead, Aoki said those efforts are being shuffled to allow staff to work on coordinating and implementing the region's coronavirus response.

He said staff have been dealing with questions from the public, doctors and hospitals. Public health says the risk continues to be low in the region.

"We're just trying to make sure that we have the nurses and staff available to respond to those requests," he said.

Even though there will be no suspensions this spring, Aoki said parents should still make sure their children's immunizations are up to date.

He adds public health will honour all immunization appointments that have already been booked and will be arranging for alternative clinics to update records before staff resume enforcement efforts in the fall.

"The suspensions for elementary students set to start on March 25, 2020, and on April 29, 2020, for secondary students will not take place," the Waterloo Region District School Board said in a release.

"Public health will put in place actions over the summer to make sure students, who would have received suspensions, have an opportunity to get their vaccines up-to-date before the start of the new school year."