COVID-19: Fanshawe College implements vaccination requirement for students in residence

Fanshawe College as seen on May 20, 2020. Sawyer Bogdan/Global News Radio 980 CFPL

Following the recommendations from the Middlesex London Health Unit, Fanshawe College has committed to adopting a vaccine requirement for students to stay in residences.

Come fall, the college said all students living in residence will be required to show proof they have received at least one Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccine and will be required to have a second dose scheduled within the recommended time frame.

“Providing an enriched residence living experience is a top priority for the Fanshawe Residence experience this fall, and that requires measures to protect ourselves and our student community to the fullest extent we can,” says David Norwood, Fanshawe’s director of residence operations.

“Health officials have told us that vaccines are the best way to provide an environment for that to happen.”

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The move comes a week after Western University adopted a similar policy following the health unit’s recommendation. Throughout the last year, Western experienced multiple outbreaks in its student residences, at one point having eight active at the same time.

“You will certainly prevent cases and likely outbreaks from occurring in the future,” said Dr. Chris Mackie, London medical officer of health.

“As someone with children, I think all parents want their children to be learning in an environment that’s safe and certainly living in an environment that’s safe, and the vaccination will help to get to that.”

Similar to Western’s new policy, students unable to a vaccine before arriving will have 14 days after moving into residence to get their first shot.

Fanshawe has said it will assist students in booking an appointment after they arrive if they are unable to do so in their hometown.

Those who cannot get a vaccine for medical reasons or other protected grounds under the Ontario Human Rights Code may request an exemption. The school said students with approved exemptions may be restricted from accessing certain activities or room occupancy.

Students who are partially or fully vaccinated at least 14 days before move-in will enjoy the use of residence lounges and common spaces, in-person social activities and visiting between residence buildings.

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“We’re excited to make it possible for new students to experience enriched opportunities within our Fanshawe Residences once again,” Norwood says.

Talking about the decision during Thursday’s COVID-19 news briefing, London Mayor Ed Holder said he was looking forward to the time that every student at both Fanshawe and Western is vaccinated.

“I think it’s not just a pre-emptive decision, but the determination to proceed this way will save lives and stop the spread,” Holder said.

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