All athletes and coaches at Holland College will have to be fully vaccinated to participate in sports this fall.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Holland Hurricanes athletics department posted a statement to its Facebook page saying student athletes and coaches must be fully vaccinated by Sept. 30.
Brittany States, assistant coach for the women's volleyball team, said her players are happy to get vaccinated and play this season.
"They think the whole vaccine thing is a great idea and [are] pushing their teammates to do all the same thing. But overall they're super excited to be back and to give their 100 per cent," she said.
States said she hopes the increasing number of fully vaccinated Islanders will allow for Holland College to welcome fans back to the stands.
"We're hosting nationals this year so it would be nice to see a packed stadium," she said.
"Hopefully by everybody getting vaccinated, and bringing everything back to normal, that will happen by the end of the year."
To help get athletes vaccinated, Holland College said it will set up vaccination clinics at its Charlottetown campus on Aug. 30 and 31. It'll also have pop-up clinics at other campuses across the province. The school said depending on demand, it'll offer more clinics for students and athletes wanting the vaccine.
'Prepared for every eventuality'
Sandy MacDonald, president of Holland College, said having players and coaches fully vaccinated is best for the safety of all teams.
He also said other schools across the country have mandated their athletes be fully vaccinated, so not doing the same at Holland College could have limited where its players travelled for competitions.
"It'd seem to be a little foolish there if you're playing all year and you get to the nationals and you're not allowed to step on the campus … because you're not vaccinated," he said.
MacDonald said the college wants to make sure it's "prepared for every eventuality" as provincial COVID-19 restrictions are "changing pretty rapidly."
"In the last 18 months here we've been making policy decisions on a Monday and had to readjust them on Friday because circumstances have changed," he said.
No mandate at UPEI
At the University of Prince Edward Island, student athletes have not been required to get vaccinated.
In a statement to CBC News, the university said it "strongly encouraged student athletes to become vaccinated for their health and safety."
The statement also said coaches at UPEI have "explained to student athletes that if they choose not to vaccinate it could hamper their ability to play their sport."
In its Facebook post, Holland College said all student athletes will also need a P.E.I. Pass as they'll likely be travelling in and out of the province for games.
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