Seneca College becomes first Ontario college to mandate vaccinations for on-campus learning

Jul 13, 2021 | COVID-19, News

Seneca College is the first post-secondary institution in Ontario to make vaccinations a rule in order to attend campuses this coming fall semester.

President David Agnew announced today the new policy effective Sept. 7 for students and staff at its 10 campuses, including those working and living in residence. He said vaccinations will be a “condition of participating in on-campus activities.”

Agnew is putting his trust in the government that vaccines will be available for everyone over the summer break before classes start.

“Second doses have already started, and the pace will pick up through the rest of June and into July and August,” he said.

Agnew adds unvaccinated international students arriving in Canada will have the opportunity to get their vaccine while in quarantine.

Seneca has still have yet to finalized its safety protocols and vaccination policy for the fall, but wanted to give an advance noticed for those attending the campus.

“Let me be clear: we are not requiring anyone to get a vaccine,” Agnew said. “We will respect medical exemptions upon presentation of appropriate documentation. Fully online and remote learning, teaching and working are not affected by this policy.

“However, to continue to protect the health of our community and stop the spread of infections, vaccinations will be a condition of participating in on-campus activities. And these activities will continue to be subject to public health guidelines and rules,” he said.

As of this July 13, there are more than seven million Ontarians fully vaccinated, making up 54 per cent of its population.

Humber College’s spokesperson Emily Milic told Humber News proof of vaccinations is not a requirement at Ontario’s largest college, but they could potentially be required for students in work placements that require them to be fully vaccinated. This includes students working in the front-line jobs such as the nursing program.

Milic said health and safety on campus has been a shared responsibility for both students and staff, adding vaccinations can help reduce the risk of COVID-19.

“Whether learning on campus or remotely, we encourage staff and students to get vaccinated unless medically advised otherwise,” she said.

Last month, the college announced fall semester classes will be a mix of both in-person and online classes. It will increase building, room or area-specific occupancy limits.

Milic also said the college will continue look to the public health and government directives.