Western will require all students, staff, and faculty to provide proof of vaccination before returning to campus this fall.
The university announced in a statement on Wednesday that this policy will be in effect at Brescia, Huron, Kings and main campus. How the university and its affiliates will receive proof has not yet been confirmed.
“The health and safety of our community is our top priority — and it’s a shared effort,” said Sarah Prichard, acting provost and vice president (academic), in the statement. “Vaccination is our clearest path to a safe campus.”
Exceptions to the mandate will be provided on grounds protected by the Ontario Human Rights Code. Those without proof of vaccination must be tested twice a week in order to access campus.
This move comes weeks after the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association, King’s University College Faculty Association and the Teaching Assistants and Postdoctoral Researchers Union, PSAC 610, called on the school to mandate vaccination on campus. A petition to implement the policy launched by Western University biochemistry professor Greg Gloor has also reached over 2,300 signatures.
“UWOFA is gratified that @WesternU has finally done the right thing,” the association said in a tweet posted shortly after Western’s announcement.
UWOFA is gratified that @WesternU has finally done the right thing, and we want to thank all UWOFA members for your hard work over the past three weeks advocating for this important public health measure. https://t.co/7RTcmyVnYY— UWO Faculty Association (@uwofa1) August 11, 2021
The announcement comes a few hours after the school announced mandatory vaccination for all student-athletes.
Western joins the University of Ottawa and the University of Waterloo as the third university in Ontario to mandate vaccination, however, it is the first to require proof.
“Substantial COVID-19 transmission has been seen amongst the post-secondary community, greatly affecting student and campus life,” said Dr. Chris Mackie, London’s medical officer of health, in a letter to president Alan Shepard.
“The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) strongly supports all efforts to increase the uptake of COVID-19 vaccination.”
August 11, 2021, 8:26 pm: This article has been updated to reflect that Western is the third university to mandate vaccinations for campus-goers.
August 11, 2021, 8:35 pm: This article has been updated to reflect that Western is the first university in Ontario to require proof of vaccination.