Students could face suspension over immunizations
The deadline is drawing near for Ottawa-area parents to prove their children have their immunizations.
In October, Ottawa Public Health sent a letter out to parents, asking them to hand in their children’s immunization records. Out of 150,000 students, OPH said they were missing 50,000 records. The letter also stated that children, whose records were not handed in, could be suspended.
“This is the first week when we sent suspension notices to some students in Ottawa,” said Marie-Claude Turcotte, an OPH spokesperson.
Turcotte said parents had about one week to 10 days to give OPH the information.
Melissa Olegario, who has two daughters in elementary school, received one of these letters.
“This is just an official way of saying that something has to be done in action... so I am happy with that, it was professional, but overall I don’t like being threatened to have my kid kicked out of school," said Olegario.
Under Ontario Law, students attending school must be vaccinated against nine diseases, unless they have valid exemption.
Turcotte says these records are important for keeping students safe.
“Let’s say we have a case of one of the diseases in the school, let’s say a case of measles, this is where were going to go to, to see which children are properly vaccination, and which ones need to be excluded from school for their own safety,” said Turcotte.
To keep her daughters in school, Olegario said she had no problem bringing them to get vaccinated.
“It’s a bit rushed, but it got done, because I respect that institutions, if you want your service from those institutions, you have to respect,” Olegario said.
Parents can reach OPH by phone at 613-580-6744 or online at parentinginottawa.ca/immunization.