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Sisters call on Kingston post-secondary institutions to implement mandatory vaccine policy

Click to play video: 'Sisters call on Kingston post-secondary institutions to implement mandatory vaccine policy' Sisters call on Kingston post-secondary institutions to implement mandatory vaccine policy
Amanda Preston-Walker has started a petition she plans to present to Queen's University Principal Patrick Deane and other senior officials at the university. – Aug 6, 2021

Two sisters that will be attending Queen’s University and St. Lawrence College this fall are calling on both post-secondary institutions to implement a mandatory vaccination and testing policy for staff and students.

The sisters say with thousands of students returning for in-class learning this fall the mandatory policy is necessary.

Read more: Kingston COVID-19 vaccine uptake slower but steady, says associate medical officer of health

With literally thousands of students returning to Kingston this fall to resume in-class learning, it’s about a safe return for Amanda Preston-Walker and her sister Victoria.

“I would really like it for the university to mandate vaccinations for those who can receive vaccines and for those who can’t for any medical reasons or any other reason to at least be tested before going to class,” says Amanda, a fourth-year student.

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Amanda has started a petition on Reddit and Facebook calling on Queen’s University to make vaccinations and testing mandatory for students and staff.

Victoria, a Queen’s graduate is now enrolled at St. Lawrence College this fall and hopes the college will follow suit.

Read more: Most recent COVID-19 cases found among unvaccinated, half vaccinated: Kingston MOH

Victoria says, “we’re students that are trying to push for some actual policies that are beyond recommendations because people that don’t care aren’t going to follow recommendations.”

Click to play video: 'Post-Secondary institutions in Kingston join the growing list of schools in Ontario that say they will not make vaccines mandatory in the fall' Post-Secondary institutions in Kingston join the growing list of schools in Ontario that say they will not make vaccines mandatory in the fall
Post-Secondary institutions in Kingston join the growing list of schools in Ontario that say they will not make vaccines mandatory in the fall – Jul 15, 2021

Global Kingston asked both St. Lawrence College and Queen’s University for interviews.

St. Lawrence college couldn’t provide anyone for an interview or a statement for this story, however, Queen’s University did provide a statement outlining its campus reopening framework and a new residence vaccination policy:

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“…Which requires students in residence to disclose their current vaccination status within a maximum of two days prior to their move-in date, or to have submitted an attestation as to the reason they are not being vaccinated. Students are required to bring their proof of vaccination with them to Kingston and will be required to provide it upon request at and/or after move-in.

“Our most recently available data indicates that over 98 per cent of students living in residence have completed their disclosure form, with 99 per cent indicating they are, or plan to be, vaccinated before arriving on campus in September.”

The university is also planning a series of vaccination clinics including a drive-through clinic during move-in.

Read more: Kingston parents react to Ontario’s back to school plan

But Amanda feels a mandatory policy would help safeguard the entire community and those most vulnerable to COVID-19.

“My friends and family that can not receive the vaccine due to medical issues or anything else, they’re now vulnerable to those who are choosing not to be vaccinated,” says Amanda.

Amanda hopes to gather at least 1,000 signatures on her petition before she presents it to principal Patrick Deane and other senior officials at Queen’s University.

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