University of Guelph entrance wallAs part of ongoing health and safety efforts and in alignment with other universities across Ontario, the University of Guelph will require students living in its Guelph campus residences in 2021-22 to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

This decision reflects discussions involving University leaders, public health officials, scientists and others. Requiring students living in residence to be fully vaccinated was recommended by Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health as well as by other public health units in the region and province.

“Our goal is to provide students with a welcoming and enjoyable campus living and learning experience while ensuring safe interactions,” said U of G president Dr. Charlotte Yates.

Public health experts have established that vaccines are a safe and effective way to protect individuals and those around them from serious illness due to COVID-19.

“The University has been unequivocal in its support of vaccination as crucial to helping ensure public health and safety and to ending the global COVID-19 pandemic,” Yates said.

The city of Guelph has some of the highest COVID-19 vaccination rates in Ontario; more than 86 per cent of people aged 12 and up have received their first shot and 62 per cent are fully vaccinated. “As a strong community partner, the University wants to encourage continuation of this upward trend, including among students entering or returning to the region,” Yates said.

Reducing the transmission of COVID-19 in university residences is especially important because students live in close quarters and interact with others through shared residential facilities and in-person programming.

“Mandatory vaccinations will allow our students living in University residences to take advantage of the many in-person academic courses and extracurricular activities we plan to offer this fall semester,” Yates said.

All students planning to live on campus must be fully vaccinated within 30 days of checking into residence.

Students are encouraged to obtain both COVID-19 doses before coming to the Guelph campus and are asked to arrange for their second COVID-19 shot at least 14 days before moving into residence.

Students who arrive on campus after having received only one dose must arrange for a second dose as soon as possible after their arrival. Students who are not vaccinated must receive a first dose within seven days of arrival in residence and must arrange to receive a second dose within 30 days of their move-in date.

The University will facilitate access to vaccines, including providing on-campus access via its Student Health Centre.

Accommodations will be provided for students with medical exemptions and for grounds protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code, provided that an exemption form is submitted.

Students will receive further details via email on how to provide confirmation or how to request an exemption. International students will receive an additional email with instructions and information specifically for them.

Mandatory vaccination measures do not apply to U of G’s two family housing communities in Guelph at College Avenue and Wellington Woods, which are governed by the Residential Tenancies Act. Students living off campus, faculty, staff and campus visitors are also exempt.

The University will continue to follow public health guidance and may extend mandatory vaccination measures; the U of G community will be informed of changes.

“We continue to strongly encourage everyone who is eligible for vaccination to get vaccinated,” Yates said.

“We are proud of the number of people we have helped become vaccinated through our campus clinic and of the work by the University to provide welcoming, safe and quality educational, working and living experiences during the global pandemic.”

Other health and safety measures – such as mask-wearing, hand-washing, testing, capacity limits in common spaces and regular self-assessment for COVID-19 symptoms – may also be in place during the fall 2021 semester, depending on the latest public health guidance.

Additional details and information, including answers to frequently asked questions about mandatory vaccination requirements and other COVID-19-related issues, are available on the University’s COVID-19 page. You may also call the University’s COVID-19 hotline, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53906.

“The health of our community is a shared responsibility, and we appreciate the support shown by the entire U of G community as we remain committed to doing our part in fighting COVID-19,” Yates said.