London

Western University tells students they must be vaccinated to stay in residence

Western University is asking every student who wants to live in residence in September to have at least one COVID-19 vaccination shot before they arrive in London, Ont.

The vaccine mandate is endorsed by the Middlesex-London Health Unit

The bridge on the Western University campus in March. Students who will be living in residence at the London, Ont., school are told they need to get vaccinated against COVID-19. (Colin Butler/CBC)

Western University is asking every student who wants to live in residence in September to have at least one COVID-19 vaccination shot before they arrive in London, Ont. 

Western's move also includes affiliated university colleges Brescia, Huron and King's. 

"The health of our community is a shared responsibility," said Western president Alan Shepard in a statement released Thursday morning.

"We're asking students to play an important role in keeping themselves, their friends and classmates, and our community safe and healthy." 

Western is preparing for in-person classes in the fall and is urging everyone on campus to get vaccinated as soon as they can.

Fanshawe College officials told CBC News they have not made a decision yet about requiring vaccination. 

"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 post-secondary institutions in our region in the fall of 2021," Dr. Chris Mackie, medical officer of health for the Middlesex-London Health Unit, wrote in a letter to Western.

"The Middlesex-London Health Unit strongly supports all efforts to increase the uptake of COVID-19 vaccination, particularly in congregate living settings such as post-secondary residences." 

Students asked to get shots before arrival

Western students set for residence are being asked to get vaccinated before their arrival. Those who can't access the shot will have two weeks following their move-in date to get it on campus. 

Those who have medical or other exemptions may request an accommodation. 

The university will host on-campus vaccination clinics later this summer to give shots to students, staff and faculty. 

The plans for fall are subject to provincial and public health requirements, but officials say they will continue with a range of COVID-19 health measures, including masking, enhanced cleaning, on-campus testing and requiring physical distancing. 

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