Canadian Mennonite University requires 3rd vaccine dose, rapid testing for all students, staff

The Winnipeg-based Canadian Mennonite University says all students, staff and faculty will be required to receive a third dose of COVID vaccination as soon as possible.

More Manitoba post-secondary schools shift back to remote learning in January

Canadian Mennonite University is mandating all of its students, staff and faculty receive a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

Canadian Mennonite University will start its winter term with two weeks of online classes, and will require its students, faculty and other staff to get a third COVID-19 vaccine dose as soon as possible.

The Winnipeg-based post-secondary institution announced the new COVID-19 protocols for its 2022 winter term in a news release Thursday afternoon.

The university aims to resume in-person classes on Jan. 24, after a two-week remote learning start to the winter term, which begins Jan. 10.

The changes come in the wake of significant jumps in COVID-19 case numbers in Manitoba this week, including 556 new cases reported Thursday. Provincial officials estimate up to one-third of all new cases in Manitoba are now caused by the highly tranmissible Omicron coronvirus variant.

CMU plans to host a clinic for third vaccine doses at its Shaftesbury campus on Jan. 10. Sign-up for the clinic will start on Jan. 5, the university said.

Additionally, all CMU students, staff and faculty will have to participate in a rapid testing program twice per week once in-person learning resumes.

Once back on campus, the university will require all faculty, staff and students to wear three-ply surgical, N95 or KN95 masks, or to wear a cloth over a two-ply mask.

Red River College Polytechnic announced a similar mask policy on Dec. 17.

The universities of Manitoba and Winnipeg have also both said their winter terms will begin with remote learning. They have said they don't expect in-person classes to resume until February at the earliest.

The Université de Saint-Boniface also announced this week that its winter term classes will shift back to remote learning until Feb. 18.

USB faculty of science laboratories will continue to be offered in-person, as will nursing and health studies lab activities and simulations.

Brandon institutions make changes

Assiniboine Community College and Brandon University are also going back to remote learning in varying capacities.

BU announced Thursday it will delay the start of the winter term by one week, from Jan. 5 to Jan. 12, with most classes to be conducted online until the end of January.

Brandon University is delaying the start of winter term instruction by one week, from Jan. 5 to Jan. 12. (CBC)

The institution's senate voted on that measure to give students and faculty "additional time to prepare for a temporary move to online instruction," a BU news release said.

Some required in-person instruction — determined by deans in consultation with faculty — will continue on the BU campus. Strict COVID-19 precautions will be followed, including mandatory proof of vaccination, mandatory masking, physical distancing and enhanced sanitization. 

In an email to CBC News, an ACC spokesperson said the school has moved some of its programs to partially or fully remote learning from Jan. 5 to 14.

Instruction for some programs at the start of the winter term will, however, continue to be conducted with fully in-person classes, Assiniboine said.