This past year was an unusual year for students as they bounced between limited in-class learning and online-based learning, which created a struggle for students. A province-wide mass vaccination distribution plan has made in-class learning for the upcoming 2021-2022 school year more of a reality.

The Northwestern Health Unit Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kit Young Hoon commented on the likeliness of in-class learning for the upcoming school year in a media briefing yesterday.

“Things are looking very good not only for our region but for most of the province, case numbers are low, so I think we're all hopeful that if enough people get vaccinated that would position us very well to prevent any surges or increases of COVID-19 in the fall. I think a key thing here is to have very high vaccination rates so that no matter what happens in the fall, we able to manage any spread of the virus,” said Young Hoon

Young Hoon also noted the approach that the NWHU is taking in preparation for the upcoming school year. Kids aged 12-17 are now eligible for booking a first dose or an accelerated second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, which took effect as of Monday. This allows kids to be fully vaccinated before August 22, 2021.

The NWHU will also be reviewing a list of students who are un-vaccinated and calling them to provide information to help make the decision on getting vaccinated. Mass communication with schools has been performed to help direct students in the direction of the nearest clinic and more information.

Assistance in some communities will be provided to kids that may have barriers such as lack of transportation, to help with the vaccination process.

Young Hoon did add that for kids aged 12 and under research is being done to approve a vaccine and when one becomes available then the health unit will present a vaccination plan for the fall.

As of May 5, 2021, Health Canada approved the Pfizer vaccine to be safe to use on children aged 12-15 and was the first COVID-19 vaccine authorized for use on children in Canada.