USask requiring students, staff to have COVID-19 vaccinations on campus this fall

WATCH: The University of Saskatchewan announced new COVID-19 vaccination measures for its fall term.

All students, faculty and staff will be expected to be vaccinated against COVID-19 this fall term before entering campuses, according to the University of Saskatchewan (USask).

While the university said full details will be announced in the coming days, proof of a first vaccination will be required by Sept. 7 and the other by Oct. 18.

“The science is unequivocal and overwhelming: vaccinations are the clearest path to beating COVID-19 and its dangerous variants,” USask president Peter Stoicheff said in a statement.

“We are eager to resume as much in-person teaching, learning and research as we possibly can by January. Only widespread vaccination and testing throughout our campuses can make this happen.”

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Unvaccinated individuals will be required to provide “regular and frequent” negative COVID-19 test results and submit a daily symptom checklist in order to access USask campuses, according to a press release on Friday.

“They will have to identify daily symptoms and submit those symptom scores and undergo frequent – throughout the week – point-of-care testing,” said Darcy Marciniuk, with the USask Pandemic Recovery and Response Team.

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USask said stronger vaccination and its new COVID-19 safety measures are in response to the fourth wave now underway and aim to minimize the health risks to all when on its campuses.

Consultations with other Canadian institutions, USask faculty, and legal and public health experts have contributed to this decision, the post-secondary institution in Saskatoon added.

“Requests for exemption from this vaccination requirement will be considered in alignment with The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code,” read the release.

The university said all current COVID-19 health and safety measures remain in place including indoor mask requirements, some continued online programming, space reconfigurations in high-traffic areas and enhanced cleaning.

University of Regina (U of R) officials announced on Friday that the university has decided to mandate vaccination for its campus community for the 2021-22 academic year.

Faculty, staff and students at the U of R will be required to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 1, according to a press release.

“We’re not going to engage in any punitive or disciplinary action against members of our community, and we’ll work with them not against them and you know what? I’m hoping in the end that’ll be a very positive outcome,” U of R vice-president academic David Gregory said.

U of R said it’s approaching the fall 2021 term as a transitional semester, with an increase in on-campus activity and in-person classes, and continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation, aiming to return to more normal operations in the 2022 winter term.

The post-secondary school in Regina has also extended health and safety protocols including masking in all public spaces on campus, physical distancing and self-wellness checks.

According to the provincial government’s dashboard on Friday, there were 125 new cases, bringing the overall infection total in Saskatchewan to 51,034. The seven-day average of new daily infections grew to 98 from 93 on Thursday.

Saskatchewan’s active COVID-19 cases have increased and now sit at 893.

The province’s hospitals are currently providing care for 73 patients with COVID-19: 64 are receiving inpatient care and 9 are in intensive care units.

-With files from Emily Olsen

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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