Several Canadian universities are maintaining COVID-19 precautions, such as vaccination mandates and masking for in-person classes, even as governments roll back pandemic restrictions.
Ontario ends its vaccination certificate system on March 1, when capacity limits in public places and restrictions on the size of social gatherings will also be fully lifted, although masking requirements remain for now .
Ontario’s top doctor said last week that vaccination policies at post-secondary institutions have served their purpose and should be scrapped, saying their removal should align with the end of the province’s vaccination certificate system next week.
But several Ontario universities have said they are keeping their vaccination policies in effect.
Western University in London, Ont., said it would maintain its vaccine mandate until at least the end of the current winter semester. A spokeswoman said the school will review later this year whether the COVID-19 vaccination will be required for students taking on-campus classes in the fall.
“We will continue to work with the Middlesex-London Health Unit and our doctors and internal occupational health and wellbeing medical officers to inform our further approach, including a planned review of our policy no later than September 1” , said Roxanne Beaubien.
York University in Toronto has also said it will not drop its vaccination and masking requirements.
Lucy Fromowitz, vice-president of York University, said the school’s vaccination mandate will remain in place until the end of the winter term.
“In light of changes to the province’s phased reopening plan, I am writing to share that the university has determined that there will be no changes to York’s health and safety protocols, processes or approach to the moment,” Fromowitz wrote in a letter to the university community.
The University of Guelph has said it intends to maintain its vaccine mandate through the end of the winter semester, but will review the policy soon and provide an update next month. .
Other Ontario schools, including the University of Toronto, have said they are not making changes to their COVID-19 vaccination policies and continue to consult with government and health officials. public on the issue.
In Alberta, the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta announced they were suspending their vaccination mandates when on-campus learning resumes next week.
But Alberta’s two largest post-secondary schools will keep their masking requirements in place despite the province’s plan to drop the measure as of March 1.
Bill Flanagan, president of the University of Alberta, said the school’s vaccination policy has worked as 97% of students and more than 99% of faculty and staff are fully vaccinated.
“When many of us return in person on February 28, … proof of vaccination will no longer be required on campus or to access services or events,” Flanagan said in a letter to students.
“Masks will continue to be required on all (University of Alberta) campuses until the end of the winter 2022 semester.”
Ed McCauley, president of the University of Calgary, also said proof of vaccination will no longer be required of students.
“This change is consistent with the direction of the province,” McCauley said in a message to students. “Masking remains compulsory until the end of the winter session. At that time, masking will become optional at the University of Calgary.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said he will announce “a final decision” this Saturday on whether to proceed with the second phase of the province’s pandemic reopening plan, which includes ending requirements masking.
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