u of t

U of T is requiring students in residence to be vaccinated and people have questions

U of T is following the lead of Western and Trent University in requiring students living in residence this fall to have at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

They revealed the news Tuesday, stating in a release that the decision was based on the advice of the medical officers of health for Toronto and Peel Region.

The rule — which will apply to all three campuses in downtown Toronto, Scarborough and Mississauga — dictates that students "should" have one or both shots before moving in, preferably at least 14 days prior.

Those who may not be able to get vaxxed in time will have a two-week grace period to get their jab, with the university vowing to "help to facilitate access to vaccines, subject to supply" for both first and second doses.

With residence being such a close-quarters, highly interactive space notorious for partying and other shenanigans, the threat of rapid transmission of the virus is, of course, very concerning.

"This requirement will enable us to give our students the residence experience that they expect — and that is so important to their growth and development — without compromising on their health and safety," the school's vice-provost of students said in a statement.

"It’s really important that students be able to interact safely with one another and participate in the in-person programming that we know they value so highly."

Those who don't get at least one shot within two weeks of their move-in date will be subject to "additional public health restrictions," the university says, which will ostensibly preclude them from taking part in organized campus activities and certain levels of interaction with other students.

Many of the health and safety measures that have become ubiquitous to us at this point, such as mask-wearing and indoor capacity limits, will likely still be in place on campus by the fall anyway.

Based on reactions thus far, it seems the move is fairly widely supported, especially by those in support of science and except for by those who are anti-COVID vax in general — much like thoughts on vaccine passports for travel and to take part in large-scale events.

Some are wondering, though, about the pressure this directive will put on international students who may not have access to the same vaccines (or any vaccines at all) as Canadians, and who will potentially have to try to get vaxxed in Canada within two weeks of arriving.

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