U of T will let unvaccinated students attend class on campus this fall
As Ontario progresses through the third and final step of Doug Ford's economic reopening plan, the question of what comes next is top of mind for many, especially when it comes to high-risk, close-contact environments such as classrooms.
The province's Ministry of Colleges and Universities sent a memo earlier this week telling post-secondary institutions that they should effectively plan for a return to normal when in-person classes resume this fall — no capacity limits, no physical distancing mandates.
Masks will still be required indoors and schools will obviously have to follow any other public health orders that are legally in place, but deputy minister Shelley Tapp said it's anticipated that all on-campus activities will be allowed again come September.
Some insitutions have already taken it upon themselves to announce specific rules of their own on top of existing restrictions.
Seneca College, for instance, announced last week that all students and staff will need to have proof of vaccination in order to be on campus.
Ryerson, Western and U of T all previously put out statements declaring that students living in residence would need to be vaxxed, but none have yet gone so far as Seneca in mandating that all staff, students and visitors — regardless of whether they live on campus — be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The latter school has in fact just confirmed that students will not need to be vaccinated in order to attend class this fall.
"We know that there may be students that do not have access to vaccines, and we are working with our health care partners to make it as easy as possible for students — including those arriving from outside Canada — to get fully vaccinated this fall," said a spokesperson for the University of Toronto to The Varsity, a campus newspaper.
The school still encourages all students to get the first WHO-approved vaccine available to them, and has stated multiple times over that it will continue to base its decisions on the advice of public health experts. Requirements could thus change at any time.
Fortunately for the top-rated school, many of its local students have already been jabbed with at least one dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine.
According to the province's Ministry of Health, 80 per cent of all adults have now been at least partially vaccinated against the coronavirus, while just over 65 per cent have now had two shots of a vaccine.
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