Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo and Conestoga College in Kitchener both say they will require all student athletes to be vaccinated against COVID-19 beginning in the fall.
Laurier says the vaccine requirement is a move that has been recommended by local public health units in Waterloo and Brant County, as well as Ontario University Athletics, the governing body for university sports in Ontario.
“The university is implementing extensive precautionary measures to offer a safe learning and interuniversity sport environment,” said Ivan Joseph, Laurier’s VP of student affairs.
“By following the vaccine recommendations of the OUA, we will allow our student-athletes to fully participate in their sports and engage in this key component of their university experience.”
The school says students need to get their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine over the next 10 days and are required to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 30.
Conestoga says it initially announced the requirement late last month.
“Conestoga joins a growing number of post-secondary institutions in Ontario that will require student athletes to be fully vaccinated to help prevent the spread of the virus and create a safer sports experience for all participants,” the college said in a release.
The school says that 85 per cent of students it surveyed were either fully vaccinated or intended to get their shots soon.
The two schools, along with the University of Waterloo, recently announced they would require all students who were living on-campus to be fully vaccinated by the end of the first month of the school year.
A spokesperson for the University of Waterloo says it has not made a decision on whether it will follow the path of the other institutions.
“We are keeping our plans for the fall term under review,” Ryon Jones told Global News in an email.
“We have announced our policy for the residences and will update on other plans when and if they change.”
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The University of Guelph also announced a similar policy earlier in the week, again not mentioning coaches in its release.
Global News reached out to Guelph, Conestoga and Laurier to see if coaches will also be forced to be vaccinated this season but Laurier has yet to respond.
A spokesperson for Conestoga College told Global News that all of its coaches were vaccinated already which is why the policy is only for students.
“Conestoga polled our coaches earlier this summer – all of them have confirmed that they are fully vaccinated,” Brenda Cassidy said in an email.
A spokesperson for the University of Guelph says it will be considering its policy on coaches next week.