Those planning to attend the University of Guelph this fall will have to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Last week, the school announced that vaccines would be mandatory for all faculty, staff, and students at both campuses in Guelph and Ridgetown. They also announced this would be mandatory at the all indoor University of Guelph managed field stations.
“The health and safety of the University community continue to guide our decisions,” said President Charlotte Yates.
She said this mandate is in place for the balance of the 2021-22 academic year.
“As an institution of higher learning and a leader in life sciences, the University is committed to evidence and research-informed decision making.
Yates said the University is fortunate to be able to leverage the expertise of world-renowned scholars who have been shaping our institutional response to the pandemic since the beginning. This includes the advice and recommendations of current and future working groups such as the SARS-CoV-2 Surveillance and Rapid Testing Working Group.
“This decision was made by the University’s Executive Team with strong support from Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health and Chatham-Kent Public Health as a measure to protect the University from outbreaks, to protect individuals from severe disease, hospitalization and death, and to continue to promote a healthy environment in which we learn, work and live,” said Yates.
She added that the vaccine mandate requires widespread institutional consultation and action. Officials will be working with the University’s senate, board of governors, and other groups to work out the specifics.
“We know that being fully vaccinated significantly reduces the risks of the most serious outcomes of COVID-19. To date, this has also been true for the variants of concern,” said Yates. “Vaccines are now readily accessible in Ontario, and our plans allow University faculty, staff and students to have access to vaccinations through Student Health Services.”
Yates said several pop-up clinics are also being planned for the fall and reminded students and staff that vaccinations can always be booked through the provincial portal.
Those who cannot be vaccinated based on medical or other grounds recognized by the Ontario Human Rights Code can request an accommodation.
“I have never been prouder to be part of the U of G community,” said Yates. “We have responded to every challenge we faced in the last year and a half with compassion, flexibility and an unwavering dedication to our mission to improve lives.”
Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News