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Laurentian, Cambrian, Boréal all announce tougher COVID vaccine requirements for on-campus

The vaccination policy at the 3 local post-sec schools has been evolving through the summer

All three post-secondary institutions in Greater Sudbury acted in tandem Monday to announce they will require those accessing their campuses this fall to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Those who are not vaccinated will be subject to enhanced screening and COVID testing if they wish to access campus.

The vaccination policies at Laurentian University, Cambrian College and Collège Boréal have been evolving throughout the summer. 

All three initially said they would not require vaccines for campus access. 

In late July, Cambrian announced it would require vaccination against COVID-19 for those living in residence. Laurentian made a similar announcement last week that would affect both those living in residence and student athletes.

But the three local post-secondary institutions all put out statements Monday regarding stricter vaccination protocols, although there are some minor differences in their policies.

This latest declaration from Laurentian president Robert Haché follows consultations with public health and other education leaders in the community.  Haché said the newest mandate will be taking effect on Sept. 8.

"This additional measure is being taken based on the strong recommendation from the Medical Officer of Health for Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD), Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, and after consultation with labour groups and student association leaders. Our colleagues at other institutions in Ontario, as well as locally at Cambrian College and Collège Boréal, were an important part of these discussions," said the statement from Haché's office

He added that the concern follows increasing infection rates caused by the highly transmissible Delta variant.

"Dr. Sutcliffe has strongly recommended a vaccination policy which requires all individuals attending in-person activities on campus to report their immunization status. Preventing COVID-19 will continue to be a community effort and I strongly encourage all who are able to be fully vaccinated as soon as possible," said the statement. 

Anyone who is not fully vaccinated by Sept. 8 will be subject to measures such as testing and screening.  Individuals who cannot be vaccinated based on medical or other grounds recognized by the Ontario Human Rights Code can request an accommodation. The university said further consultations will be held to develop more complete details of the vaccination policy. 

Also, with the support of PHSD, members of the Laurentian community will be able to access vaccines on campus. Over the next few weeks the mobile vaccine bus will visit campus and a pop-up clinic is scheduled before classes start. 

Vaccine appointments can also be scheduled at the Health and Wellness clinic on campus.  In addition to the vaccine mandate, Laurentian said it will continue with other health and safety measures which includes wearing face coverings indoors, maintaining physical distancing, and enhanced cleaning. 

Cambrian College president Bill Best said beginning Sept. 7, all those accessing campus will have to be fully vaccinated with two doses of the COVID-19 vaccines approved by Health Canada.  

After this date, those who are not fully vaccinated or choose not to be vaccinated, will be subject to additional health and safety measures, including enhanced screening and regular COVID-19 testing.

The college recognizes some may not be able to be vaccinated due to medical or religious/creed reasons. Exemptions on these grounds will be considered, in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code.

In the coming days, Cambrian will provide more details about the process to self-disclose your vaccination status, how to apply for an exemption, and what measures will be in place for those who may not yet be fully vaccinated, have an approved exemption, or decline to be vaccinated or self-disclose vaccination status.

“Public health authorities, including Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, have stated that a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections is now underway,” said Best, in a statement posted to Cambrian College’s website Monday.

“Of particular concern is the delta variant which is both more transmissible and potent. With this new wave of COVID arriving as colleges and universities are preparing for a new academic year with increased on-campus activity, it is more important than ever to do our utmost to keep our campus community safe.

“As most of you will recall, after extensive consultation with and upon the recommendation of our local Public Health Sudbury & Districts leadership, Cambrian made the decision last month to require vaccinations for students living in residence, beginning in September. 

“After receiving an additional set of recommendations from our local public health officials, and, after consulting with Laurentian University and Collège Boréal locally, and post-secondary partners across the province, we have made the decision to put vaccination and testing requirements in place to access our campus for all students, employees, contractors and visitors.”

Cambrian said it will be hosting on-campus vaccination clinics this September to facilitate access to vaccines.

Collège Boréal is also requiring vaccination against COVID-19 for anyone wishing to access its campuses across the province, although it’s giving people a bit more time to receive the full two doses.

Starting Sept. 7, anyone wishing to access Collège Boréal facilities and campuses must have received at least one dose of a Health Canada approved COVID-19 vaccine. 

The two doses — full vaccination — will be mandatory as of Oct. 4. 

After this date, individuals who have not received the two doses of vaccine will be required to undergo increased health and safety measures, such as enhanced screening and regular COVID-19 testing to gain access to campuses and facilities.

“The executive committee made this decision following consultations with public health officials and its partners in the post-secondary field in Ontario,” said a press release from Collège Boréal.

“This directive is part of Collège Boréal’s and other post-secondary institutions’ commitment to support public health and government efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

In order to facilitate access and encourage vaccination, the college, in partnership with the various public health offices throughout the province, will be promoting the various vaccination clinics underway in each of the regions served by Collège Boréal over the next few days. 

At the Sudbury campus, details regarding mobile vaccination clinics on campus will be communicated shortly to the Boréal community.