Vaccine mandate lifts but masks remain as Humber enters summer semester

May 4, 2022 | Headlines, News

After months of strict measures, Humber on May 2 lifted health screening for anyone entering its facilities with the start of the summer semester.

The change means no more lines at checkpoints where security officials had been verifying vaccination QR codes and self-assessments on the Humber Guardian app.

Still, the mask mandate remains in effect on campus and students are encouraged to social distance and continue to self-screen on the Guardian app.

Until Monday’s change, the college had been following government guidelines.

“It was a requirement of the government at that time that post-secondary institutions have a vaccination policy in place” said Emily Milic, Humber’s Associate Director of Communications.

“Humber kept it in place for the remainder of the winter term,” said Milic, “because some people had signed up for the term under a certain set of assumptions.”

Milic said the college wanted to allow students to be able to complete the winter term with the same conditions as they entered it.

But even with changes to the vaccination policy, the college is keeping the mask mandate in place until at least the end of the month.

“The mask mandate at Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber will remain in place until May 31, 2022. The College is making this decision based on recent guidance from the Chief Medical Officer of Health and out of an abundance of caution as we transition to the summer term,” the college said on its official website.

Most students are happy with this cancellation of the vaccine mandate.

“Very convenient now,” said Alejandro Rendon, who is studying second-semester Business Administration and who switched from Accounting after completing the first semester before the pandemic.

“You don’t have to go in and show the documents,” he said.

Rendon said that some people remain cautious about COVID prevention measures, and he said, when it comes to wearing masks, it all depends on how a person feels.

“I have to wear a mask here, so I wear a mask,” Rendon said.

“But occasionally if I get out, I won’t wear a mask.”

Amanda Turnbull also expressed support in lifting the vaccine mandate.

“It’s more important for anyone to have a choice, and having the mandate eliminated that choice for many people,” she said.

Turnbull, who is in her last semester of the Spa Business Management and Esthetician program, works as a server in a restaurant in her hometown of Hamilton.

She said that wearing a mask can make it difficult for people to communicate since “they can’t see the human emotion.”

Still, she said, the future is looking positive.

“I’m happy that everything is going back to a normal thing,” she said.

“As long as everyone’s doing their part, and keeping themselves healthy, I don’t think we are needing to have [vaccine restrictions].”

The college has said that it will decide by the end of the month on the future of the mask mandate.

“We will continue to monitor and review the mask requirement over the coming weeks, taking public health and campus environment trends into consideration. We will provide an update by the end of May with respect to masking requirements in June and beyond,” the college said.