Western University will require all staff, students, faculty and visitors who wish to attend campus this September to be vaccinated for COVID-19 and to have received at least one booster, the university announced Monday afternoon. The updated policy will also require medical-grade face masks to be worn in all classrooms and seminar rooms.
“#WesternU will require students and employees to be vaccinated with at least one booster, and wear masks in instructional spaces this fall. Read more about how we’re protecting in-person learning and our vibrant campus experience,” the university stated on Twitter.
The university administration claims the move is a proactive measure, designed to prevent a more drastic COVID-19 response in the future.
“We will soon be welcoming students to campus from across the country and around the world,” said Florentine Strzelczyk, provost and vice-president. “While we can’t predict when the next wave of COVID-19 might come, we believe these measures will help us protect the in-person experience that Western is known for. We want to do everything we can to offer our students a great on-campus experience throughout the academic year.”
In its announcement, the university proudly reminds the public that “Western was the first university in Canada to require vaccination for students in residence and among the first requiring vaccination for all students and employees, resulting in a 99 per cent vaccination rate on campus.”
“This decision supports the safety of our students, employees and our community with the goal of preserving our in-person experience,” said Dr. Sonya Malone, Western’s occupational health physician. “The last school year showed us that our campus community was on board with the masking and vaccination policy, which was the key to successfully completing the fall and winter terms in person.”
Per Western's communications team, the updated vaccination policy is as follows:
At a minimum, all students, faculty, staff and some visitors to campus are required to have been vaccinated and have one booster shot (generally, three doses in total) of any combination of COVID-19 vaccines recognized by Health Canada.
The updated policy requires all students, faculty, and staff to submit current proof of vaccination to the university by Oct. 1, 2022.
Students living in residence will need to get their booster dose before moving in. However, Western will offer a two-week grace period – and easy access to the campus vaccination clinic – for those students unable to get a booster before they arrive.
In regard to masking come September, all individuals will be required to wear medical-grade masks in all classrooms and seminar rooms “with the exception of those who can remain two metres apart.” The university says it will then “reassess the need for masking beyond the Thanksgiving weekend, with the goal to lift the mask mandate as soon as possible.”
Last month, the University of Toronto announced that all students wishing to live in residence this fall “will be required to have a primary series of a COVID-19 vaccine and at least one booster dose before moving in.”
In response to the University of Toronto's booster mandate, Rebel News contacted the registered Canadian charity and civil society organization The Democracy Fund (TDF) to advocate on behalf of students who object to the mandate. Lawyers at The Democracy Fund agreed to review cases to see if they can assist students facing a discriminatory booster requirement.
If you are a student set to attend campus this fall and are unwilling or unable to get a booster shot, please fill out this form.
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