Western University mandates COVID-19 booster shots, masking ahead of fall term
Western University is implementing vaccine and mask requirements in September for students, faculty, staff and some visitors.
The University of London, Ontario, requires those returning to campus to be vaccinated against COVID-19 twice with an additional booster. There is also a mask mandate in place in classrooms and seminar rooms for the first five weeks of classes followed by reassessment.
« Considering that the general population is at 50% in terms of recall, we think it’s not too much of an effort to get where we want to go, » said Florentine Strzelczyk, provost and vice president (academic).
The policy goes into effect Monday, but the campus community has until Oct. 1 to submit up-to-date proof of vaccinations to the university.
Access to the vaccination clinic
A press release from Western Communications says students living in residence will need to get their booster dose before moving in. Western will offer a two-week grace period and access to the campus vaccination clinic for those who cannot get a booster before arrival.
International students and those arriving from outside Canada must follow federal vaccination requirements to enter Canada.
Western Communications said the policy decision was made after extensive consultation with its scientific experts and community.
“We want to come together and have a mandate that is uninterrupted by pivoting back and forth depending on the situation with COVID,” Strzelczyk said.
« COVID is of course expected to spiral, as we all know. We don’t know when it’s going to happen. We want to make sure we have a safe return to campus because unlike other institutions, our experience in person is very important to us,” added Strzelczyk.
The school says people who violate the policy or submit fraudulent documents will be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with the student code of conduct. A student who is also an employee may also face disciplinary action as a student and an employee.
Western was the first university in Canada to require vaccinations for students living in residence and among the first to require vaccinations for all students and employees. The university says its policies have resulted in a 99% vaccination rate on campus.