The Health Unit strongly recommends getting immunized according to Ontario's Routine Immunization Schedule.
For your children to attend school in Ontario, they need to be immunized against the following infectious diseases:
- Meningococcal Disease
- Varicella (chickenpox) *proof of this vaccine is required for children born in 2010 or later.
- Immunization School Checklist. This document is also available in 29 different languages by visiting the Ministry of Health.
- Immunization Well-Child Toolkit
What is the Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA)?
The Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA) R.S.O. 1990 is a law in Ontario that requires certain vaccines to be given for a child to attend school in Ontario making sure that all school aged children are protected from vaccine preventable diseases.
What should parents do?
- Look at your child’s yellow immunization card. If you aren’t sure if your child is up-to-date on all their vaccines, check with your doctor and nurse practitioner or the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.
- Any time that your child gets a vaccine or booster shot you should update their record with the health unit through any of the following ways:
Methods of contacting WECHU to update, or get copies of, immunization records
- 519-258-2146 ext. 1222
- Toll-free: 1-800-265-5822 ext. 1222
- Windsor Office: 1005 Ouellette Avenue.
- Leamington Office: 33 Princess Street.
What if I choose not to immunize my child?
Under the Immunization of School Pupils Act R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 645, students must be immunized against measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, meningococcal, varicella and polio, or have a valid Medical, or Conscience or Religious Belief exemption on file at the Health Unit.
Non-Medical Conscience or Religious Belief exemption package:
A parent/guardian who is requesting a non-medical conscience or religious belief exemption for their child attending a school in Windsor-Essex County must complete an online education session. Please note, the WECHU will only accept exemptions for school-aged children.
Complete the ISPA Non-Medical Conscience or Religious Belief Exemption Education Session.
If you have any trouble accessing or completing this education course, contact the Healthy Schools department at 519-258-2146 ext. 1222 for assistance.
Contact our Healthy Schools department at 519-258-2146 ext. 1222 to request a Medical Exemption package to bring to your doctor or nurse practitioner.
If your child cannot be immunized due to medical reasons, speak to your doctor or nurse practitioner about completing the Statement of Medical Exemption.
The original exemption form must be completed by your doctor or nurse practitioner.
Young children in group settings, such as child care centres or schools, are at a higher risk of becoming infected with vaccine preventable diseases. If you choose not to immunize, be sure you understand the risks and responsibilities involved.
What will happen to my child during an outbreak of a vaccine preventable disease?
- If your child is properly immunized for the disease identified in the outbreak, your child will be allowed to remain in school or daycare.
- If your child is not up-to-date for the vaccine identified in the outbreak, the Medical Officer of Health will determine if your child is at risk and may exclude your child for their own protection.
- Exempted children are at greater risk of getting ill during an outbreak. Most are likely to be excluded from school or daycare.
- If you have an exemption document on file, you’ll be contacted directly and informed that your child is excluded from school or daycare until further notice.
- The school and daycare administrators will also be contacted to help enforce the exclusion.
- If your child is exempted and you choose to have your child immunized, it may take up to two weeks before your child is allowed back at school or daycare.
Once the outbreak is over or your child has developed protection through immunization, you and the school or daycare administrator will be notified that your child may return.