Between 2019 and 2022 as many as 5,658 teachers have retired and only 5,851 new teachers were hired. Compared to the previous years, the annual difference is 10+ times lower.

At least 3,000 extra Ontario teachers did not renew their teaching licenses in 2020.

Many teachers took a leave or absence or left the profession altogether when COVID policies were introduced, not being able or willing to cope with ongoing changes.

Thousands more teachers were placed on an unpaid leave of absence or terminated altogether for not wishing to disclose their COVID vaccination status or disclosing as being unvaccinated.

In 2019-2020, there were 126,465.13 full time equivalent teachers in Ontario (excluding those on leave). There also were 10,030.28 full time equivalent early childhood educators.

Staff vaccination rates vary by school board. Some have a 76% rate, others have a 95% rate. The average vaccination rate for Ontario educational staff is in line with the provincial average of about 85%.

This means that approximately 15% of teachers either agreed to submit Rapid Antigen Test results three times a week, have been placed on an unpaid leave or have been fired.

Based on the number of full time teaching staff for 2019-2020, 15% is 20,474. There is also support staff, program staff, office staff and others.

Many teachers have taken the COVID vaccine under pressure and out of fear of losing a job.

So, what has been done about the above mentioned issues? Not much.

Despite the mountain of evidence now that COVID vaccines do not stop transmission and do not prevent COVID; that the unvaccinated are not spreading COVID more than the vaccinated, nobody even talks about removing the discriminatory mandates for the unvaccinated staff in Ontario schools.

Teachers’ unions are in support of the mandates and are not defending their members when it comes to the COVID mandates issue. They continue advocating for more restrictions for staff and students, reminding their members of the unsafe work refusal option due to supposedly not enough COVID safety measures in Ontario schools.

In the meantime, schools continue reporting staff shortages. At the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, the daily absence numbers are between 700 to 800 staff (13 to 15 percent). A similar situation can be observed at the Hamilton Catholic District School Board, the Halton District School Board, Peel District School Board, the Toronto District School Board and the Toronto Catholic District School Board and more. The Durham District School Board is hiring uncertified teachers. The Rainbow District School Board does not have enough occasional teachers to cover all the absences.

Of course, a significant portion of the recent absences could be attributed to the Omicron variant, which affects both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, causing a generally mild illness.

However, it is not clear why the outdated COVID policies and mandates still remain in place in Ontario schools and why the unvaccinated teachers are still required to conduct asymptomatic testing, remain on the unpaid leave or look for a different career altogether. Bringing them back would certainly help.

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