U of Sask., Sask. Polytechnic beef up vaccination requirement for winter term, remove negative test option

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The University of Saskatchewan announced on Thursday that it will remove the option for people to provide a negative COVID test result in the winter term.  (Don Somers/CBC - image credit)
The University of Saskatchewan announced on Thursday that it will remove the option for people to provide a negative COVID test result in the winter term. (Don Somers/CBC - image credit)

The University of Saskatchewan and Saskatchewan Polytechnic are beefing up their vaccination requirements for the winter term, and removing the option for people to submit a negative COVID test result.

Saskatchewan Polytechnic says that effective Jan. 3, 2022, rapid testing won't be allowed as an alternative to being fully vaccinated, unless there is an approved accommodation under the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code.

"Requiring Sask Polytech students and employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 even if they are currently working or learning remotely sets the stage to welcome more students and employees to campus for Winter 2022," the school said in a statement released on Thursday.

"Sask Polytech also has a larger role in reducing the spread and harms of COVID-19 in our campus communities, Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Regina and Saskatoon."

The U of S has announced similar rules. Starting Jan. 4, anyone accessing the university's campuses will need to show proof of vaccination, said U of S president and vice-chancellor Peter Stoicheff in a statement released Thursday afternoon.

More than 90% of U of S students, staff, faculty fully vaccinated

"The expert guidance has confirmed for us that vaccination is the single most effective public health measure to reduce spread and prevent harms of COVID-19 in our community," the statement said.

"Testing protocols are not preventive, but reactive, and should only be used in situations where vaccination is not an option. In considering this public health guidance and the university's responsibility to provide for a safe learning and working environment, we have decided to implement these protective and preventive measures for the Winter Term."

According to the university, 99 per cent of faculty, 96 per cent of students, and 95 per cent of staff are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

People who are not fully vaccinated or choose not to upload their vaccination status by Jan. 4 will not be able to access campus for any reason, and will be moved to online learning or remote work.

The university said that when people become eligible for booster shots, they will have to show proof that they received that third dose in order to be considered fully vaccinated.

The province has not yet announced its COVID-19 vaccine booster shot plan.

The school will still consider accommodation requests for people protected under the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code.

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