On Friday, the college announced that beginning in the fall 2021 semester, anyone on campus — students, staff and visitors — will be required to have at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 7 and a second dose by Oct. 20.
Proof of having received at least the first dose prior to Sept. 7 will be required in the form of a paper or digital receipt to access campus facilities. Fleming has campuses in Peterborough, Lindsay, Haliburton and Cobourg.
“This policy will not impact the current plan for in-person and online program delivery for the September semester,” Fleming stated.
In late June the college announced a vaccination mandate for students living in on-campus residence as they were required to have at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
“This decision is consistent with the Fleming Safe plan that we implemented at the onset of the pandemic and we believe this policy will provide the best possible protection and freedom to everyone at Fleming to pursue their academic, athletic and personal goals in a safe environment,” stated college president Maureen Adamson.
“Vaccination is an effective safeguard against future lockdowns and interruptions in learning, as the scientific evidence shows. Given the current spread of the virus and its negative impact on all healthcare services including the availability of non-COVID-19 related health services, we believe this policy is an important contribution to the communities we serve.”
In February, a deadly COVID-19 outbreak at an off-campus, privately-run Severn Court Student Residence claimed the life of 31-year-old Fleming student Zachary Root. The outbreak had up to 60 cases and was attributed to parties at the residence. Another outbreak at Trent University’s Champlain College student residence was connected to the Severn Court outbreak, health officials said.
Fleming says with the new policy it will assist students in gaining access to vaccines through on-campus and local clinics.
“The college respects any student, staff, faculty or visitor who cannot be vaccinated on medical or other grounds recognized by the Ontario Human Rights Code. These individuals may request an accommodation. For those without proof of vaccination, regular testing will be required.”
Also on Friday, the Trent University Faculty Association (TUFA) issued a statement calling on the university to implement a campus-wide vaccination policy for all students, academic staff and employees — except those with “legitimate grounds for exemption.”
The association says 93 per cent of its members polled approved that all “eligible students, staff, faculty, librarians, and archivists to be vaccinated fully before coming to campus, acknowledging exemptions and requests for accommodation based on medical or other grounds recognized by the Ontario Human Rights Code.
“We also call on the university to affirm its support for The Council of Ontario Universities and Colleges Ontario advocacy for a province-wide vaccination policy and safe-pass system.”
The association says in the wake of a fourth wave of COVID-19 and transmissibility of the Delta variant, Trent University should follow other Ontario universities to adopt a “more stringent vaccine and testing requirements.” Among the universities cited included Carleton, Guelph, Ontario Tech, Ottawa, Queens, Toronto, Western and York.
“TUFA believes that Trent must continue to exhibit leadership in regard to community health and join with this group of peer institutions,” the association stated. “TUFA is prepared to work closely with the University to expedite development of such a vaccination policy.
In June Trent announced that students living on campus residence would require at least their first COVID-19 dose.
In a statement to Global News Peterborough, Trent University said it “appreciates TUFA’s advice and concerns” and is currently exploring vaccination requirements.
“As we approach the return to in-person learning and campus life, the university is doing its due diligence as it fully explores the complex health and other issues surrounding vaccine requirements,” the university stated.
“We are discussing these matters with our fellow members of the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) and with legal counsel. Our decision for Trent’s campuses will be continue to be guided by data, advice from public health, the provincial response and the evolving COVID-19 situation.”