Universities, colleges struggle mandating COVID-19 vaccinations

Jun 22, 2021 | COVID-19, Life

This is an image of an overview of York University Keele Campus located in Toronto.
York University Keele Campus is one of the universities implementing a mandatory residence vaccine. It will continue to adhere to safety protocols when schools reopen in the fall semester. Photo credit: Courtesy York University

Post-secondary students in Ontario most likely won’t be required to be vaccinated to attend classes this fall.

Universities and colleges are encouraging staff and students to get vaccinated as a precaution to stop the spread and protect one another. However, it is not mandatory to return to classrooms.

The Humber College website says it will continue to follow public health measures but will not require vaccinations as it is a choice based on a range of personal factors.

COVID-19 vaccinations are considered a safe and effective way to prevent illness caused by infectious diseases,” a Humber College statement said.

“The COVID-19 vaccines are intended to protect you and those around you from developing COVID-19 and make your symptoms milder if affected,” the college said.

But the college states it won’t make vaccinations mandatory.

“However, the choice to get a vaccine is personal and may be based on a range of factors including medical, religious or other. As always, staff and students are asked to treat their peers with respect, including understanding the private nature of health-related decisions,” the college states.

This is a picture of a first-year student.
Brandon Raquio, a first-year student at the Humber College Lakeshore campus, said he is disappointed students won’t be required to be vaccinated. Photo credit: Courtesy Brandon Raquio

Brandon Raquio, a first-year Human Resource Management student at Humber College’s Lakeshore campus, said he is concerned about students not requiring the vaccine.

“A vaccine will make students feel relieved that others are vaccinated and there is a better level of protection,” Raquio said.

Schools are set to return to in-person learning in the fall and vaccinations are only required for students living in residence.

The schools with mandatory vaccine requirements to live in residence are the University of Toronto, Western University, and York University.

Yanni Dagonas, spokesperson for York University, told Humber News vaccinations are only being required for those living in residence because of the sharing of facilities between students.

“This measure is being supported by Toronto Public Health, requiring vaccination will help us provide the residence experience students are looking forward to and foster a welcoming home for them on our campuses where they can learn and thrive,” Dagonas said.

While schools will not be making vaccinations mandatory for everyone they will continue to follow safety protocols by physical distancing, mandatory masks, and new hand sanitizer dispensers.

See a list of benefits of vaccines and proposed safety protocols: