Mandatory vaccines for University of Windsor staff and students this fall
The university joins list of educational institutions mandating COVID-19 vaccines
The University of Windsor has announced that all staff and students on campus must be fully vaccinated this fall.
Staff and students will be required to have at least one dose by Sep. 1 and a second dose by Oct. 1. Proof of vaccination will be required and regular testing protocols will be established for those who are not vaccinated or have received accommodations.
In a media release, the university said it will provide accommodations for those who are exempt from vaccination for medical reasons or for reasons protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code.
Dr. Wajid Ahmed, Medical Officer of Health for the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit supports the decision. "The University's announcement today is a critical step in our collective fight against COVID-19," said Ahmed in the media release. "We are currently facing a potential 4th wave, and we must all work together to mitigate any further damaging health, social and economic impacts for our region."
The university-wide mandate comes on the heels of an announcement Thursday by the university's athletics department that it was instituting full vaccination requirements for varsity athletes and student athletic therapists.
The measure is endorsed by Ontario University Athletics, the provincial governing body. An increasing number of universities and colleges across the province are mandating that student athletes, athletic staff and resident students be fully vaccinated.
In July, the Ministry of Colleges and Universities said institutions must have plans for how learning will continue in the event of COVID-19 outbreaks, but the province did not make vaccinations mandatory. Instead, the decision was left up to the individual universities and colleges.
Students' alliance encourages vaccination
In an emailed statement, the president of the University of Windsor Students' Alliance, Jasleen Dayal, told CBC News that the alliance believes vaccines are important to returning to some normalcy, and is encouraging all students to get vaccinated if able to do so.
"We also recognize that there are reasons as to why someone may choose not to get vaccinated — factors beyond an individuals' control such as age, existing health conditions, and more may be a reason for some people not to get vaccinated," Dayal said.
The university says it will establish regular testing protocols for those who are not fully vaccinated or have an exemption. It will also provide a variety of course delivery modes, daily self-assessments and implement mask wearing and physical distancing protocols.
All students and staff will have access to a pop-up vaccine clinic on the University of Windsor's campus on Sept. 10 that will also be open to the community at large.