Three Alberta universities update COVID strategy

·1 min read

CALGARY — Unvaccinated students and staff at three Alberta universities will have to get regular COVID-19 rapid tests to attend campus this fall.

Edmonton's University of Alberta, the University of Calgary and the University of Lethbridge released a joint return-to-school plan on Tuesday detailing rapid testing, vaccination and mask requirements.

The three research schools said they won't mandate vaccinations — like some others in Canada have — but anyone who refuses to disclose vaccination status or who is not fully immunized will need to regularly test negative to attend campus.

Face masks will be required in all public areas of the universities.

Alberta continues to record a spike in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. On Tuesday, another 407 infections brought the province's active case count to 5,627. There were 176 Albertans in hospital, including 44 in intensive care.

A joint statement from the universities said the policies will maximize safety for in-person teaching and learning.

A growing number of Canadian universities are requiring students and staff to be fully vaccinated to attend campus, including the University of Ottawa, University of Saskatchewan, University of Regina and University of Toronto.

“These expanded measures are a direct response to shifting COVID-19 conditions. Our health, law and public policy experts have been tracking the rise of cases and emergence of the Delta variant, providing us with data-driven approaches," Ed McCauley, president of the University of Calgary, said in the statement.

"By working together with Alberta’s other research-intensive universities, we will continue to monitor and take the measures necessary to keep our community safe.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 17, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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