The Gleaner
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Valley now an orange zone; NFSB to play significant role in vaccinating students

Valley residents can enjoy the sunset without worrying about getting home before curfew as that emergency measure, first introduced in January, has been lifted. Local restaurants are welcoming people back into their dining rooms, outdoor gatherings on private property are now permitted, and students are back in school full time. Welcome to life in the orange zone.

The reopening plan relies heavily on Quebecers continuing to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and on continued compliance with safety measures still in place. Quebec is currently leading all provinces with more than 58 per cent of the population having received a first injection. The vaccination rate in all age categories in the Haut-Saint-Laurent local health network (LHN) continues to lag significantly with just under 51 per cent of the population having received a first dose. This is below the average for the Montérégie (56.1 per cent) and well behind the rate in the neighbouring Suroît LHN (63.1 per cent).

Young people aged 12-17 can now receive a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Appointments can be booked for young people; however, vaccination campaigns will also be offered through school boards.
For Rob Buttars, the director general of the New Frontiers School Board, the vaccination campaign represents a “challenging but extremely important task.”

Schools will play a key role in managing all communications as well as parent permission slips for children under age 14 to receive the vaccine. There will be no on-site vaccination clinics at Valley schools, therefore the NFSB will also be coordinating and supervising the transportation of students to vaccination centres.

The NFSB is encouraging parents to make appointments for their children, including those in grade 6 who have already turned 12, but, says Buttars, “We will be there for the parents that are not able to get their kids vaccinated.” A separate platform on Clic Santé will be created for the school vaccination campaign, while parents looking to book an appointment for their children should go through the regular website.

Students will be transported from CVR to the Ormstown vaccination site at the Recreation Centre on June 8, 11, and 18. A second dose should be made available to the same age group in late August, which could allow for a near-normal return to school come fall.

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