Colleges and universities plan to maintain mask requirements for remainder of Winter semester

Mar 17, 2022 | News

Humber College intends it will maintain a mask policy for the rest of the winter term, but it will make them optional for the summer term.

Nevertheless, there is growing concern for the safety of those who are immunocompromised.

Humber College paralegal student Mahek Khan said she’s worried, in part because her parents are immune-compromised because of their age. Her mother is at a greater risk because she had pneumonia in the past.

“It seems like it is too soon to be lifting the mandate,” Khan said. “With masks not mandatory in high traffic areas, it makes it look like the government doesn’t take into account the percentage of the Ontario population that is immunocompromised.”

With the mask mandate being lifted, people who are immunocompromised will have to be cautious and take measures to stay safe.

“It would be best for people who are immunocompromised to avoid crowds,” said Erica Susky, with Toronto Western Hospital Infection Prevention and Control. “Being outdoors is safest, and smaller groups are better.

“I would not recommend going to large sporting events or a crowded shopping mall,” she said.

Despite the lifting of the mask mandate, Humber, along with other colleges and universities, will maintain the current masking requirements until at least the end of the winter term. Masks are required in all Humber buildings.

“I don’t mind the mask mandate being in place at Humber because many students have in-person classes and Humber has many students going there to utilize their services like the library, seating, and dining areas,” Khan told Humber News.

Humber’s Vaccination Policy will also remain in place until at least the end of the winter term.

Humber campuses still require students to upload vaccination records or a medical exemption to Humber Guardian along with a completed daily screening.

Humber Guardian App users may only submit proof of vaccination using the provincial Enhanced Vaccine Certificate, which will be verified and approved almost instantly.

Public Safety officers will be equipped with QR code scanners to verify the enhanced vaccination certificates at entries to the campuses.

Ontario, however, will lift requirements in other areas.

“It would have been smart to wait a couple of weeks longer, however given the climate with spring coming, better weather will open things up and that will help prevent the virus from getting worse,” said James Tiessen, Associate Professor and Director of the School of Health Services Management at X University.

Ontario says several factors, including the province’s high vaccination rates and antiviral treatments, a stable COVID-19 positivity rate, and declining hospitalizations have allowed these steps to be taken.