The University of Guelph announced Aug. 12 that it was mandating COVID-19 vaccinations and launched a proof of vaccination and exemption collection system Sept. 2. More than 24,000 people from the Guelph and Ridgetown campuses have since provided information, including almost 20,000 students.
Thus far, of those who have submitted information, 99 per cent are partially or fully vaccinated and 1 per cent have requested or been granted an exemption.
“We are encouraged by the strong response by our students, staff and faculty,” said U of G president Dr. Charlotte Yates. “Keeping our University and nearby communities safe is a shared responsibility, and I want to thank our students, faculty and staff for doing their part.”
As an institution of higher learning and a leader in life sciences, U of G is committed to evidenced-based and research-informed decision-making, Yates added.
“We know that vaccination is the most effective way to prevent outbreaks and best protect individuals from significant negative health outcomes of COVID-19. Our high vaccination compliance rates will go a long way toward helping us achieve our goal of providing healthy teaching, work and living spaces.”
Currently, of the nearly 20,000 students who have provided information, 94 per cent are fully vaccinated and 5 per cent are partially vaccinated. As well, 97 per cent of the faculty and staff who provided information are fully vaccinated and 2 per cent are partially vaccinated.
U of G’s mandatory vaccination requirement went into effect Sept. 7 and will be in place for the balance of the 2021-22 academic year. The University’s policy aligns with the Ministry of Colleges and Universities framework released Aug. 31 that requires all post-secondary institutions to enact COVID-19 vaccination policies.
Campus visitors must also be vaccinated to access a U of G space (a University building or University-managed facility at the Guelph or Ridgetown campuses or at a U of G research station).
“We must remain vigilant. While vaccination is the best way to slow the spread of COVID-19 and prevent infection by Delta or other variants, people who are vaccinated can still get infected and transmit the virus to others,” Yates said.
“All members of the U of G community need to do their part by getting vaccinated, following health and safety protocols and not engaging in behaviour that compromises our community’s health such as gathering in large groups. We are in this together, and we must work together to help and protect one another.”
U of G community members who have one dose of an approved two-dose vaccine must receive their second dose by Oct. 15. In the interim, they and U of G community members who have received an approved exemption may access U of G facilities provided they take part in rapid testing and follow all safety protocols.
Exemptions are being approved only for those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons or on other grounds protected by the Ontario Human Rights Code. All exemption requests are reviewed individually. Those who do not receive an exemption must comply with the University’s mandatory vaccination requirement or explore options for remote learning and working.
In addition to complying with the vaccination mandate and following public health requirements, everyone must complete the U of G COVID-19 Daily Screening Form before accessing buildings and University-managed facilities at the Guelph and Ridgetown campuses and U of G research stations.
Answers to frequently asked questions about U of G’s vaccine mandate, exemptions, testing requirements and more, as well as updates relating to COVID-19, are available on the University’s COVID-19 website.