U of T to require COVID-19 vaccines for "high risk" extracurriculars

Jul 31 2021, 11:52 am

The University of Toronto will require students, faculty, and staff who participate in “high-risk” extracurriculars to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The school announced the measure on July 29, as well as the requirement that all community members self-declare their vaccination status before returning to campus.

“Vaccination is a key component to fight COVID-19,” said Professor Sal Spadafora, special adviser to the president on COVID-19.

“The reason vaccination is so important is that it provides the best protection from COVID-19—obviously, you can’t spread what you’re not infected with.”

Activities considered high risk include varsity sports, music instruction, and educational placements, although U of T noted the list may be updated at a later date.

Professor Trevor Young, dean of the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, said the decision to require immunization for certain activities was made after the Ontario government “indicated it would not mandate vaccination in the province.”

“In the absence of a critical legal framework and supporting tools like a digital vaccination record or passport, we will follow the example of partner organizations such as the University Health Network,” Young said.

In addition to mandating vaccines for some activities, U of T will require all community members—including students, staff, faculty, and librarians—to declare their vaccination status.

Declarations will be anonymous, the school said, and will be used to inform on-campus health and safety measures.

To be considered fully vaccinated, and eligible to indicate “yes” in their declaration, community members must have received their second dose at least 14 days beforehand.

Those who respond “no” or opt not to answer will be provided with information regarding vaccines and how to book an immunization appointment, the university said.

The latter group will be required to complete an at-home rapid screening test twice a week, and have a negative COVID-19 result within 72 hours of coming to a U of T campus.

Anyone who has a positive result must report it to the school’s occupational health nurse, confirm the result with a PCR test, and self-isolate.

U of T said last week that it would not require students attending in-person classes to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Vaccines are mandatory, though, for those living in residence.

Zoe DemarcoZoe Demarco

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