With the start of the fall semester just weeks away, universities across Ontario have begun to reveal their back-to-campus plans. And some are requiring COVID-19 vaccines.
On August 11, both the University of Toronto and Western University announced that students, staff, and campus visitors must be fully vaccinated.
“This is a key part of the University’s carefully developed and extensive COVID-19 protocols, which include the mandatory wearing of masks indoors and other safety measures,” U of T President Meric Gertler wrote in a letter on Wednesday.
U of T previously announced that vaccines will be required for “high-risk” activities, including varsity sports, as well as students living in residence.
However, the move backtracks from a July statement from the school that said vaccines would not be mandatory for in-class learning.
In a notice on its website, Western University said that it will require students, staff, and faculty to be fully immunized in order to return to campus.
The measure also applies to Western’s affiliated colleges — Brescia, Huron, and King’s. Those who do not have proof of vaccination must be tested twice a week in order to be on campus.
“The health and safety of our community is our top priority — and it’s a shared effort,” said Sarah Prichard, Western’s acting provost and vice president.
“Vaccination is our clearest path to a safe campus.”
Queen’s University followed suit on August 12, announcing that all faculty, staff, and students must be fully vaccinated, or have a plan to do so, by September 7.
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The University of Ottawa has also mandated COVID-19 vaccines for the fall semester. Students, staff, and campus visitors must have had their first dose by September 7, and their second shot by October 15.
Starting September 1, the University of Waterloo will require anyone returning to campus to anonymously self-declare their vaccine status.
Those who respond with “no” or “prefer not to say” must undergo testing twice a week. The school said its plans “remain flexible,” and that the data will be used to adapt its health plan.
To date, Ontario has seen 553,962 COVID-19 cases and 9,412 deaths.