Queen’s University and St. Lawrence College announced Thursday they will make COVID-19 vaccinations necessary for students and staff planning to come back to campus this fall.
The college made the announcement Thursday morning, with the university following suit around noon. Neither school has made it clear how they will enforce mandatory vaccinations.
The university said Thursday that anyone accessing its campuses — students, faculty, staff and visitors — will have to be fully vaccinated come the fall semester. Those who have not been fully vaccinated will have to get tested to access campus and will be made to follow “additional safety protocols,” which have yet to be delineated by the university.
Queen’s says it will review possible accommodations for those with medical or other exemptions listed under the Ontario Human Rights Code.
Queen’s University principal Patrick Deane says the decision was made out of concern for a fourth wave and the proliferation of variants.
“I think it just became apparent that this would be the most responsible thing to do. So that we could be sure that we were doing everything we could to keep both our university community and the broader community safe,” Deane said.
Over the course of the pandemic, Queen’s has accounted for a significant portion of the KFL&A region’s COVID-19 cases. The school also went through three large outbreaks, with one reaching more than 80 people at one point.
The university had repeatedly denied implementing mandatory vaccinations, but several other Ontario post-secondary institutions, such as the University of Ottawa and University of Toronto, have recently implemented similar policies.
Queen’s says it will provide further details on its vaccination strategy in the coming weeks.
St. Lawrence College:
St. Lawrence College says it expects students and staff to have at least their first dose by orientation day on Sept. 7, but there will be a grace period. These details will be communicated next week.
“This decision was guided by local and provincial public health experts and is in response to the latest developments and insights as the world continues navigating the pandemic,” a news release from the St. Lawrence College said Thursday.
The school will also accept medical exemptions.
“What we’re saying is, and we’ll have a grace period but, as of Sept. 7 you have to have your first dose. And if you elect not to have a vaccine, then you’ll be required to produce a negative COVID test and be subject to testing,” said Glenn Vollebregt, St.Lawrence College, CEO and president.
The college will also be running vaccination clinics on campus later this month to ensure those who haven’t received vaccinations are able to.
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