U of Regina not making vaccination mandatory for staff, students returning to campus this fall

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The University of Regina is strongly encouraging staff and students to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but will not make it mandatory.  (CBC - image credit)
The University of Regina is strongly encouraging staff and students to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but will not make it mandatory. (CBC - image credit)

University of Regina students can expect a mix of online and in-person classes for the fall semester as the school moves to gradually reopen, according to the university's website.

And while COVID-19 vaccinations won't be mandated for returning staff and students, the school's reopening plan is based on the assumption that all eligible age groups have been vaccinated.

"In preparation for safely welcoming as many people back to campus as we are able, we strongly encourage all members of the campus community to receive their COVID-19 vaccination as they become eligible to do so," University of Regina spokesperson Mindy Ellis wrote in an emailed statement.

"However, attempting to make vaccination mandatory for all those coming to our campus this fall would present many legal and logistical challenges."

The statement follows a similar decision from the University of Saskatchewan. Last week, the U of S Faculty Association passed a motion which called for mandatory vaccination of anyone returning to campus for the fall semester.

The University of Saskatchewan issued a statement saying that, while it expects people to be vaccinated this fall, it will not make vaccination mandatory for a return to campus.

Lauren Hodgins, a Grade 12 student at Dr. Martin LeBoldus High School in Regina, is enrolled in the U of R's faculty of science for the fall semester. She's studying to become a veterinarian and said her biggest worry is that classes will bounce between in-person and online, much like her Grade 12 year.

"This year ... with no vaccines available, just switching on and off has been really hard," Hodgins said.

While Hodgins found out last week that all of her classes next fall will be online, she hopes that may change as more people get vaccinated.

Hodgins will also play for the U of R women's basketball team, and said it would feel better to know that everyone on the court and in class had a vaccine.

"Just not knowing what we're doing is really hard — if we're going to be in-person or online. It would be nice to have some consistency with it too, which I think the vaccines would be nice to provide with that," Hodgins said.

Representatives from the University of Regina were unavailable to comment Tuesday. In a previously emailed statement the university said the fall semester will be transitional, with a move to more in-person classes and on-campus activity.

It also said the U of R hopes to resume near normal operations for the 2022 winter semester.

According to the University of Regina's most recent numbers,16,664 students were enrolled at the university in 2020.