TORONTO -- The Ontario Public School Boards’ Association is calling on the Ford government to introduce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for schools “as quickly as possible.”

OPSBA President Cathy Abraham made the request in an open letter sent to Premier Doug Ford and Education Minister Stephen Lecce on Friday.

The requests comes as the federal government announces plans to make vaccination mandatory for all federal civil servants.

“I am writing to request that your government act as quickly as possible to implement a policy and strategy to make vaccination mandatory in our schools,” Abraham said. “We support the growing number of medical professionals and public health experts calling for such a policy in the education sector. As I’m sure you’ll agree, ensuring that we provide the safest possible environment for our students, staff, and school communities is a top priority for all of us.”

Ontario schools are set to reopen for in-person instruction next month and unlike last year there are plans to allow students to participate extracurricular activities, field trips and contact sports once again.

The resumption of classes, however, comes at a time when COVID-19 cases are growing exponentially once again.

In her letter, Abraham said that the government must take “swift and decisive action” to ensure schools remain “as safe as possible” through the fourth wave of the pandemic.

She said that means making vaccination mandatory for all eligible students, staff and visitors.

“The Ontario Public School Boards’ Association and our member boards stand ready to work with the Ministry of Education, public health officials, education sector stakeholders, and our school communities to ensure that the implementation of such a policy occurs as smoothly as possible,” her letter states.

Both the NDP and the Liberal parties have previously called for vaccinations to be mandatory for all education workers and healthcare workers, though the Ford government has not yet committed to doing so.

Lecce also said earlier this month that vaccinations would not be made mandatory for students and staff “at this point.”