Western University says students must be vaccinated to live on campus this fall
As the world of academia prepares for the return of in-person classes, one of Ontario's largest universities has declared that no student will be allowed to live on-campus this fall without having at least one dose of a COVID vaccine.
Western University (previously known as the University of Western Ontario) announced the news Thursday, emphasizing the importance of health and safety among members of the campus community.
"The university and its affiliated university colleges (Brescia, Huron and King's) will require students living in residence to have received at least a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, assuming Ontario's supply allows," reads an online post from the school, which is located in London, Ontario.
"Students living in residence will be asked to get vaccinated before their arrival — and those who can't access the shot will have 14 days following their move-in date to get vaccinated on campus."
The rule, which has been endorsed by the local Middlesex-London Health Unit, will not apply to people who "for medical or other protected grounds under the Ontario Human Rights Code cannot be vaccinated."
Incoming students will receive more details in the coming days, according to Western, but it looks like anyone without a valid reason for not being vaccinated will need to get the jab if they want to live (and party) in any of the school's infamous dormitories.
"We want our community to be safe and healthy this fall, as we return to the on-campus experiences we all love. Ensuring our students in residence are vaccinated will go a long way toward making this happen," said university president Alan Shepard when announcing the news Thursday.
"The health of our community is a shared responsibility. We're asking students to play an important role in keeping themselves, their friends and classmates, and our community safe and healthy."
"Vaccination is the single most important intervention in reducing the transmission of COVID-19. This will be particularly important with the return of students to postsecondary institutions in our region in the fall of 2021," said Dr. Chris Mackie, medical officer of health for the Middlesex-London Health Unit, similarly.
"The Middlesex-London Health Unit strongly supports all efforts to increase the uptake of COVID-19 vaccination, particularly in congregate living settings such as postsecondary residences."
People living off-campus won't be mandated to show proof of vaccination to attend classes at Western, but the university is "strongly encouraging all members of the campus community to get vaccinated as soon as they can."
An on-campus vaccination clinic will be running at the London school sometime this summer to ensure staff, students and faculty all have access to first and second doses.
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