Some Western students unsure why university mandated third COVID-19 vaccine after paying tuition

Some Western students say they are disappointed with the University of London, Ontario’s decision to mandate masking and vaccine booster doses for the fall semester, especially since they had already paid the fees tuition before the announcement of the new measures.

« I just wanna know why [were the requirements changed]with statistics and a deeper reason, instead of it being a ‘Too bad so sad, you have to put on your mask and get your reminder’,” said Nathalia Aranda, a sophomore who feels school hasn’t not give the students a solid answer.

According to Western’s website, the freshman tuition due date was August 2; for upper-year students, it was August 15.

Western announced the new COVID-19 mandates on Monday. They apply to students, faculty and staff for the fall. They must have been vaccinated three times (both initial shots plus at least one booster of any combination of COVID-19 vaccines recognized by Health Canada) and wear masks in classrooms and seminar rooms.

The university said it was to protect in-person learning after classes begin this fall. Despite opposition from some students, others, including some faculty members, applaud the new measures, saying the university is a public health leader and is trying to avoid a return to remote learning. in the event of a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases. this autumn.

The university said the decision to wear a mask and do an encore was based on extensive consultation with its scientific experts and the Western community.

« This decision supports the safety of our students, employees, and community in an effort to preserve our in-person experience, » said Dr. Sonya Malone, Western’s occupational physician.

Nathalia Aranda, a sophomore at Western, believes the university hasn’t given a solid reason for its new masking and recall measures. (Submitted by Nathalia Aranda)

Aranda, who is receiving a booster shot, said she understands the importance of masking and vaccines. She and other students interviewed by CBC said they would still have paid their tuition to continue their studies, but would have preferred to consider other options.

« I chose to receive my booster. However, I don’t see why we need it to get an education, » Aranda said. « Why is it harder to get an education at Western than going to travel to another country? Because you don’t need that booster to travel. »

In June, the Ontario government dropped its mask mandates in most settings. And while the province strongly recommends getting a booster, it’s not mandatory.

« I was really happy and very relieved when I heard what the university demanded. They acted with integrity and did the right thing, » said Beth MacDougall-Shackleton, a professor in the biology department.

« People were nervous. We were waiting to see what will be needed for the start of the school year. The mandate protects public health. It protects us. »

Moving online is a strain for instructors and students, and anything that can prevent that is a good thing, she added.

Maxwell Smith, a bioethicist at Western, calls the university’s decision « reasonable. »

« I think that’s pretty reasonable, given the goals the university is trying to achieve, » Smith said. « Most Ivy League schools in the states have made booster injections mandatory. Western has a choice and chooses to add protections rather than remove them. »

« Unwarranted Mandate »

Justin Alla, who is in the Health Sciences program, was looking forward to enjoying his fourth and final year starting in September.

« I was very excited to return to Western. My friends and I saw the restrictions lifted this summer and thought we might have some normalcy for our senior year. College is an experience and we want to have at least that. a little. »

Alla, who was at the end of her freshman year when the pandemic hit in March 2020, said COVID-19 restrictions had existed for most of her college experience. He thinks the new COVID-19 measures are unwarranted and wonders why Western dropped its mask mandate in June, only to rescind it two months later.

« He just came out of left field, » he said. « They did a 180. They should have spoken to their students and staff to see where we are and how we feel about the situation. »

Third-year student Mya Kestle feels duped that the university announced its updated COVID-19 policy after the fall tuition deadline. (Submitted by Mya Kestle)

Mya Kestle, a third-year student in the food and nutrition program, feels tricked. She thinks the university could have communicated this earlier, because right now students feel very little heard.

“They could have said it at the beginning of the summer, so we had the summer before we paid tuition to decide if we wanted to go to a school that required that mandate,” she said.

For Kestle, if a third dose is required by the government, it would be easier to adapt or make alternative choices like online classes, but right now the only place she needs a booster is the university she pays for, she said.

Western will require students living in residence to get their booster dose before moving in, but will offer a two-week grace period — and easy access to the campus vaccination clinic — for students unable to get a booster before their arrival.

« Mitigation of the risk of transmission of COVID-19, as well as the serious consequences of infection, can be effectively achieved through a combination of masking and vaccination, » said public health physician Dr Saverio Stranges. .

The updated policy requires all students, faculty and staff to submit up-to-date proof of vaccination to the university by October 1.


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