Waterloo, Guelph universities will require COVID-19 vaccinations for students living in residence
KITCHENER -- Students living in residence at the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, or the University of Guelph in the next school year will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Waterloo Region's Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang is encouraging "high rates of vaccination" in student populations.
"Region of Waterloo Public Health strongly recommends vaccination in all members of our community and that post-secondary institutions in Waterloo Region pursue policy options that would facilitate the highest vaccination coverage possible among its population, as well as readily available and convenient access to vaccines through your post-secondary health services," a statement from Dr. Wang said in part. "I strongly encourage a mandatory reporting of immunization policy for students who choose to live on-campus in residences, which would substantially increase vaccine uptake. This could include a requirement for proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (or proof of exemption) for all individuals residing in on-campus residences."
Dr. Wang added on-campus residences are high-density living areas with shared spaces, and high vaccination rates will help prevent outbreaks in those settings in the fall.
WILFRID LAURIER UNIVERSITY
An update on WLU's website said the policy will apply to "all campus communities" in the fall.
According to WLU, students are encouraged to have at least one dose 14 days before arriving at campus. Anyone who can't get vaccinated before they arrive will need to book a dose within one week of their move-in date. WLU said it will help coordinate access to vaccines.
"Public health experts have established that vaccines are a safe and effective way to protect individuals and those around them from serious illness due to COVID-19," the release said in part. "On-campus residences are high density, contain shared common spaces, and may present challenges to effective isolation should a student become infected. For these reasons, the highest two-dose vaccination coverage achievable among the student population will be the strongest tool to prevent local outbreaks in the upcoming academic year."
WLU said a recent study showed 95 per cent of incoming residents have already received or intend to receive at least one dose of vaccine before they arrive at the school.
“Laurier students have been doing their part to keep each other and their communities safe. Our students have told us they will be coming back to campus vaccinated,” said Ivan Joseph, vice-president of student affairs, in the release. “We are listening to the science and following the recommendation of public health to move to mandatory vaccinations for students living in residence. This will allow us to get back to the thriving campus community we all want.”
Students should keep any documents or receipts following a jab so they can use them as proof of vaccination status.
Both the Brant campus and Waterloo campus have vaccination clinics available to students and staff on-site.
UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO
Students living in residence at the University of Waterloo will need a vaccine approved by either Health Canada or the World Health Organization.
They'll also need to receive at least one dose prior to their scheduled move-in date and provide proof of vaccination.
Students are encouraged to get a second dose by Nov. 1.
Both first and second doses are available through Health Services.
UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH
The University of Guelph will also require COVID-19 vaccines for students living in residence.
Students at the U of G must be fully vaccinated within 30 days of checking into residence, according to a news release.
The school said it's encouraging students to get both doses prior to arrival in the fall.
Anyone who hasn't been vaccinated must get a first dose within a week of moving in, and second doses are necessary within 30 days.
The university will help students access vaccines, and there is a clinic at the Student Health Centre.
“Our goal is to provide students with a welcoming and enjoyable campus living and learning experience while ensuring safe interactions,” said U of G president Charlotte Yates in the release. “The University has been unequivocal in its support of vaccination as crucial to helping ensure public health and safety and to ending the global COVID-19 pandemic."
In a statement posted to its website, Conestoga College said all students living in residence will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Students living in residence will be required to at minimum have their first dose of a Health Canada-approved vaccine at least 14 days before their move-in date, but are urged to aim to be fully vaccinated with two doses.
The college's Medical Care Clinic at the Doon campus will offer vaccines by appointment to students 18 and older starting on July 26.
Those who are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons or other grounds under the Ontario Human Rights Code can submit an accommodation request, the college says.