Top doctor weighs in on unvaccinated students returning to classrooms in September

WINNIPEG — With the return to the classroom coming closer, Manitoba’s top doctor says if students are not eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, those around them should roll up their sleeves and get the shot.

Few details have been released in Manitoba about what the return to the classroom will look like. The provincial government said in June that it plans to have all Kindergarten to Grade 12 students return to in-class learning full-time on Sept. 7.

Students who are eligible to receive a vaccine – those 12 and up – have to get it by Tuesday, July 27, to be considered fully vaccinated in time for school.

For the younger students who are not eligible, Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, said the best way to protect them is to have those around them vaccinated.

“We know that younger children are much less likely to have severe outcomes, they are also less likely to be high transmitters of the virus,” he said.

“What we need is people at home to be fully vaccinated, so if the virus is brought home, it is brought home to a family that is fully vaccinated with everyone eligible there. Within the school, if we have staff and eligible students vaccinated, we are going to see much less transmission occurring in those areas.”

Roussin said the province is still looking at different back-to-school scenarios and working with partners on the national level for guidance on getting students back into the classrooms.

“We know that getting the kids back to school in as much a normal fashion is quite important,” he said.

He said more details about the return to school will be released in the coming weeks.

CTV’s Jeff Keele will have more on the story coming up on CTV News Winnipeg at 6 p.m. 

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