The fall 2021 academic year, which included the return of some 20,000 students to campus, was done with a high rate of compliance with public health measures at the University of Ottawa.
Since August, the University has made vaccination a mandatory requirement for all persons on the campus, and the University community has enthusiastically endorsed this measure.
As of September 17th, one week after the official start of the term, 49,610 individuals had certified their vaccination status through the University’s COVID-19 vaccination declaration tool. Of this number, 38,747 are students, with the remainder being faculty, staff members, or visitors to campus.
Some 91% of those who completed the vaccination declaration submitted proof of full vaccination (two doses). Among professors and staff members, this percentage rose to 96%. The University is confident that the compliance rate will continue to increase since students have until October 15 to confirm that they are fully vaccinated.
“Our students, professors, staff members, and even visitors to campus, play a vital role in ensuring the health and safety of all members of our University community, and of Ottawa residents in general,” said uOttawa President and Vice Chancellor Jacques Frémont. “We are very proud of the way our whole community has answered the call to protect each other. This clearly shows that we are here for one another.”
The University continues to apply the health measures prescribed by Ontario Public Health. It is mandatory to wear a mask even in the classroom. Maintaining physical distancing, and washing hands frequently are also strongly recommended for anyone on campus. Those who do not follow these measures will face consequences since non-compliance jeopardizes the health and safety of the entire community.
In fact, the University has had to intervene in cases where individuals refused to comply with the mandatory vaccination policy. Thankfully, the number of such cases remains low.
Action has already been taken to deal with those who refuse to follow required health measures. Some students have been withdrawn from in-person courses and will need to pursue their studies online. The University is also evaluating the options for professors and staff members who refuse to be vaccinated.
The University continues to raise awareness of the need to follow current health guidelines while our students make the most of the good weather to celebrate their return to campus. To this end, the University has placed mitigation measures to limit student gatherings, particularly those that traditionally accompany the Panda Game, which will be held on October 1 this year. The exciting weekend activities planned for Homecoming 2021 will also follow public health guidelines, with participants choosing from a variety of safe options.
The University understands that some of its community members are dealing with various circumstances. Consequently, the University may grant accommodations for medical reasons or other valid grounds recognized under the Ontario Human Rights Code. However, to date fewer than 3% have requested an accommodation.
The University made vaccination mandatory because it believes that it is the most effective way to reduce risks for everyone. This decision is based on scientific proof and the recommendations of the Council of Ontario Medical Officers of Health.
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