Some in-school public health services on hold

By Jenn Watt

Some vaccinations and screening programs typically administered in schools have been relocated to health unit offices or put on hold for the 2020/2021 school year, members of the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District board of health were told at their meeting Nov. 19.

“We decided to put on hold some of our programming in school systems obviously because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Lynn Noseworthy, medical officer of health.

Vision screening for junior and senior kindergarten children will not be offered, with the health unit instead promoting OHIP-covered optometrist visits for kids.

Oral health screening will be delayed and the fluoride varnish program cancelled this year. Those programs may be offered out of the Port Hope and Lindsay offices in the new year.

Hepatitis B, HPV, and meningococcal vaccinations for Grade 7 and 8 students will not be provided in the schools, instead “the health unit is offering immunization clinics, as well, these vaccines have been made available to health-care providers across our region through our regular vaccine order process,” Noseworthy’s report states.

This year, the health unit won’t be enforcing school suspensions for students who are not up to date on their vaccinations, though they will be sending out notices for those students missing mandatory immunizations as outlined in the Immunization for School Pupils Act.