The vaccination rate amongst University of Guelph students is nearly perfect.
In August, the University of Guelph announced it was mandating COVID-19 vaccinations and launched a proof of vaccination and exemption collection system on Sept. 2. The students have responded well. To date, more than 24,000 people from the Guelph and Ridgetown campuses have since provided information, including almost 20,000 students.
Of the nearly 20,000 students who have provided information, 94 percent are fully vaccinated, and 5 percent are partially vaccinated. Ninety-seven percent of the faculty and staff who provided information are fully vaccinated, and 2 percent are partially vaccinated.
“We are encouraged by the strong response by our students, staff and faculty,” said University of Guelph President Dr. Charlotte Yates.
Yates said keeping university and nearby communities safe is a shared responsibility. She added U of G is an institution of higher learning and a leader in life sciences and is committed to evidence-based and research-informed decision-making.
“We know that vaccination is the most effective way to prevent outbreaks and best protect individuals from significant negative health outcomes of COVID-19. Our high vaccination compliance rates will go a long way toward helping us achieve our goal of providing healthy teaching, work and living spaces.”
The university’s mandatory vaccination requirement went into effect on Sept. 7 and will be in place for the balance of the 2021-22 academic year. The university’s policy aligns with the Ministry of Colleges and Universities framework released Aug. 31, which requires all post-secondary institutions to enact COVID-19 vaccination policies.
U of G community members who have one dose of an approved two-dose vaccine must receive their second dose by Oct. 15. In the interim, they and U of G community members who have received an approved exemption may access U of G facilities provided they take part in rapid testing and follow all safety protocols.
Exemptions are being approved only for those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons or other grounds protected by the Ontario Human Rights Code. All exemption requests are reviewed individually. Those who do not receive an exemption must comply with the university’s mandatory vaccination requirement or explore remote learning and working options.
The university is providing an on-campus vaccination and testing centre in the Powell Building for students and employees. Vaccinations may be booked through the provincial portal.
“We must remain vigilant. While vaccination is the best way to slow the spread of COVID-19 and prevent infection by Delta or other variants, people who are vaccinated can still get infected and transmit the virus to others,” Yates said. “We are in this together, and we must work together to help and protect one another.”
Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News