The two community colleges located in Greater Sudbury, Cambrian College and Collège Boréal, say they are encouraging vaccination against COVID-19, but won’t require people to get the jab to enter or live on campus.
This stance goes counter to policies put in place by several other colleges in the province, which have announced vaccination requirements.
Sault College, for example, is requiring anyone living or working in its student residences to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 20. Seneca College in Toronto is requiring all students and employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before they attend campus.
For its part, Laurentian University announced last month that it won’t require COVID vaccinations, even for those living on campus.
This as the provincial government instructed Ontario colleges and universities to prepare for all in-person classes and activities to resume this fall without capacity limits or physical distancing, although many institutions will still use a mix of in-person and online learning.
The Ministry of Colleges and Universities has told the institutions to have plans for how learning will continue in the event of COVID-19 outbreaks. Universities and colleges will still have to follow all public health and workplace safety rules, including requiring masks indoors.
A spokesperson for Cambrian College recently confirmed the college will encourage vaccination, but will not require it to live in residence or come on campus.
“Cambrian will continue to follow government and public health guidelines related to COVID-19 mitigation on campus, and we continue to strongly encourage students and staff to review vaccination options that are available, and to receive your vaccine as soon as you are able to,” said a written update provided by Cambrian president Bill Best last week.
“In order to support those who have been unable to secure vaccination, the College, in partnership with Public Health Sudbury and Districts, will be conducting vaccination clinics on campus in September.”
The situation is similar at Collège Boréal. A spokesperson for the college said COVID-19 vaccinations are not required to access any Boréal sites, and that includes residences.
“We encourage everyone in the Collège Boréal family (students, staff, professors, etc.) as well as the population at large to get vaccinated against COVID-19,” said the Collège Boréal representative.
“However, vaccination will not – at this time – be required in order to enter our premises. We are committed to monitoring the situation on an ongoing basis as it evolves and following the provincial government’s guidelines in all matters concerning COVID-19.”
Both colleges also said they will provide instruction in a hybrid format this fall due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with some classes being held online, and some on campus.
The president of Cambrian said campus life this coming September will be closer to the experience students have come to associate with a college education, “and will continue to progress to further normalcy as the semester moves along.
“That means that we expect to increase face-to-face instruction, services and activities as we look to provide more of the typical college experience students look forward to,” said Bill Best, in his written statement.
He said that students who start a course virtually in the fall term will have the opportunity to complete that course in the same fashion.
Currently, Cambrian is developing additional flexible delivery options across its programs in order to provide more opportunities for students to learn online for those who wish to do so, in addition to maintaining face-to-face delivery, he said.
The spokesperson for Collège Boréal said as of the start of the school year in September, all labs will be offered on campus in face-to-face mode, respecting the assembly limits communicated by the government.
With respect to the delivery of face-to-face courses, the college hopes to resume the majority of in-class courses on all its campuses, as the province recently indicated.
“We are also planning to offer programs in a hybrid mode: some courses will remain online while others will resume in person,” said the college spokesperson in an email.
-With files from Canadian Press