Nova Scotia

Students living on Cape Breton University campus will need to be fully vaccinated

Cape Breton University will be requiring students staying in residence this fall to have two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, the only university in Nova Scotia that is putting in the measure.

CBU only university in N.S. requiring residence students to have two doses of COVID-19 vaccine

Residence buildings on the Cape Breton University campus are shown. (Brent Kelloway/CBC)

Cape Breton University will be requiring students staying in residence this fall to have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, the only university in Nova Scotia that is putting in the measure.

Students will initially be allowed to live on campus if they only have one dose, but they must have received the shot at least 14 days before arriving and are required to get their second dose as soon as allowed.

Doug Connors, the director of housing, food, and ancillary services at the university in Sydney, N.S., said the most important factor in the decision was the safety of the students.

"Having a policy that the students living on campus are vaccinated will enable us to give our students the residence experience that they expect without compromising their health and safety," said Connors.

Cape Breton University. (Norma Jean MacPhee/CBC)

Most Nova Scotia universities are currently working on their guidelines for the upcoming fall semester.

Dalhousie, Acadia and St. Francis Xavier said their residences are open to all students, including those that are not vaccinated for COVID-19. Students, however, are encouraged to get the vaccine.

Nearly 5,000 students were enrolled full time at CBU in 2019, a number that shrank by a quarter last year due to the effects of the pandemic. About 10 per cent of the student body lives in residence, according to Connors.

Doug Connors is director of housing for CBU. (CBU)

Madlyn O'Brien, the CBU students' union president, said students have been very happy with the guidelines issued by the university.

"We are all happy to see this initiative from the university because we know that vaccines help to keep all students safe," said O'Brien. "Creating a safer environment on campus is exactly what we want to be happening."

The students' union will be assisting international and out-of-province students get vaccinated.

Since most of them do not have a Nova Scotia health card they can fill out an online form with the students' union, which will book the vaccine for them.

Those who are unable to get the vaccine due to religious or medical reasons will also be able to live on campus. Connors said this makes following the guidelines even more critical.

"That group will be especially important to us as well because everybody else in residence is vaccinated and that better protects those students as well," said Connors.

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