Saskatoon·Updated

U of S, U of R urging students, staff to get booster shot, won't be mandatory

As a return to in-person classes at the University of Saskatchewan and University of Regina draws closer, both schools say they expect students and staff to get a third booster, but are stopping short at making the move mandatory.

Both universities expected to start in-person classes Feb. 7

An empty lecture hall at the University of Saskatchewan is shown in a Jan. 25, 2022, photo. (Don Somers/CBC)

As a return to in-person classes at the University of Saskatchewan and University of Regina draws closer, both schools say they expect students and staff to get a third booster, but are stopping short at making the move mandatory.

Both the U of S and U of R are expected to begin to resume in-person classes on Feb. 7. While all staff, faculty and students will be required to have two shots of the vaccine in order to attend class or on-campus events, a third booster shot will not be necessary.

The University of Saskatchewan said some people have only recently received two doses of the vaccine, and have not had time to receive a third shot.

"There are some who have only recently received full vaccination, and they would have to wait a few months, three months in this case to become eligible," said Dr. Darcy Marciniuk, chair of the U of S pandemic response team.

Even though the third dose will not be mandatory, Dr. Marciniuk is strongly urging everyone who is eligible receive the booster. 

"A booster reduces the rate of infectivity and it reduces the severity of disease when people become infected," he said.

"Those are all goals that are very important as we try to minimize disruption and support increased on campus activity."

At present, the U of S said it has a 99 per cent vaccination rate among faculty, staff and students, which means about 30,000 people have been vaccinated.

In a statement, the University of Regina said a booster shot is not required to be considered fully vaccinated, although people are strongly encouraged to get one.

Both universities have a mandatory mask policy and have brought out testing programs as well. Anyone who is showing symptoms must stay home until they feel better.

The U of S said it plans on fully resuming classes on Feb. 7, but has not made a final decision.

The U of R is phasing in in-person learning starting on Feb. 7, with full operations starting Mar. 1.

Anyone who receives a booster shot is asked to update their vaccine status on the PAWS online campus notification system.

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