Colleges, universities grapple with making vaccines mandatory for students

Canada appears to be hitting a complacency wall, with the lowest uptake being among the university-age demographic, the 18- to 29-year-olds


Toronto’s Seneca College is finding itself in an elite group of the world’s top post-secondary institutions — Berkley, MIT, Harvard — with its new coronavirus rule: Only those fully inoculated against COVID will be invited back to campus this fall.


While a smattering of other Canadian colleges and universities, most in Ontario, are requiring that students living in residence be immunized, Seneca is making vaccinations against COVID-19 a condition for students and employees to come on campus for the September term, and not just those moving into dorm rooms.


Exemptions for medical reasons will be respected, with the appropriate documentation. The policy doesn’t apply to fully online learning.


“Everything that we’re doing as a country is trying to beat this virus. We know the way we can do that is to get vaccinated and stop the spread,” Seneca president David Agnew said. “It was just the right thing to do to continue to protect the health and safety of our community.”


They’re certainly in good company.


“There are now well over 500 colleges and universities in the United States that are requiring vaccinations to come on campus in the fall, including the entire New York and California public systems,” Agnew said.


As for Canada, “I think we’re the first,” he said of Seneca.


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