Western University has joined University of Toronto in mandating the vaccine booster for nearly all of its students.
“As of October 1, 2022, all members of our community (Western, Brescia, Huron and King’s) are required to provide proof of vaccination of the primary series plus a booster shot (generally, three doses total) of any combination of COVID-19 vaccines recognized by Health Canada,” a COVID policy update published on August 22 reads.
According to Western University’s vaccine FAQ page, the policy applies to all students, faculty, staff, and some visitors.
Moreover, even if most of a student’s classes are online, the student must still comply with the vaccine booster mandate if any aspect of their course has an in-person component.
“Only those students and employees granted a medical or Ontario Human Rights Code accommodation will be exempted from the vaccination requirement, and those with exemptions are required to participate in regular, rapid antigen testing in order to be physically on campus this fall,” writes Western University.
The university has not stated the consequence for not complying with its policy, but de-enrollment for non-compliance is likely on the table.
Additionally, as of September 1, Western University is bringing back its mask mandate for classes, labs, and seminar rooms. However, masks will not be required when students present, perform, facilitate, or speak to a group. The university will also not require masks for those living in residence or those in offices, cubicles, libraries, or dining areas.
Why the university only wants to make students suffer in classrooms is unclear.
With only two weeks before classes start, many unvaccinated students are undoubtedly scrambling to figure out what they will do. Moreover, speaking with True North, several students say that despite the change on the website, they received no formal notice of the change in vaccination policy.
The university says that those who’ve received two doses will still be able to attend university so long as they receive a booster dose within 14 days of being eligible.
However, given the fact that recipients need to wait for a recommended eight weeks between the first and second dose, it’s impossible for students who haven’t received a single dose to reach the level of vaccination required for attendance, regardless if they’ve already paid their tuition.