Hamilton’s two biggest post-secondary institutions are joining a growing list of schools requiring COVID-19 vaccinations amid a return to campus this fall.
On Monday, both McMaster University and Mohawk College released notices to all students, faculty, staff and visitors that anyone attending the facilities will have to have proof they are fully vaccinated.
“The new policy will require anyone accessing campus or a university facility in person to upload proof that they are fully vaccinated, or that they have received an exemption from the university for a validated human rights ground,” McMaster University president David Farrar said in a joint release with provost and vice-president Susan Tighe.
Exemptions include medical conditions which would prevent a person from receiving a COVID vaccination and those who can provide a “validated human rights ground.”
Those with placements in hospitals and health facilities will have to follow both McMaster’s policy and the requirements of the third-party organization.
Students will have to upload proof that they are fully vaccinated, or have an exemption as of Sept. 7.
Those not yet fully vaccinated, or who have not yet received an exemption, will be required to submit proof of a negative COVID test twice a week.
Testing protocols will remain until Oct. 18 when vaccines or approved exemptions will be needed to attend the university.
Meanwhile, Mohawk is also requiring proof as of Sept. 7 with the second dose by Oct. 15. Proof of vaccination must be revealed no later than Oct. 30.
The school will also have provisions for those who have exemptions.
“People with approved exemptions will be required to be tested regularly and demonstrate a negative COVID-19 result in order to attend their work or lessons on campus,” president Ron McKerlie said in his release.
Mohawk will post dates and times of upcoming vaccination clinics in the next few days, according to McKerlie.
Requirements related to social distancing and masks will remain in place for the start for the school year at both McMaster and Mohawk until further notice.
The schools join several other major Ontario institutions which unveiled policies this month, including the University of Toronto, University of Ottawa, Western University in London, Queen’s University in Kingston, University of Waterloo and Brock University.
Toronto’s Ryerson University, University of Windsor and Waterloo-based Wilfrid Laurier University joined the tide Friday, while Carleton University in Ottawa, University of Guelph, and Ontario Tech University in Oshawa also issued immunization mandates Thursday.
Recent McMaster surveys showed 94 per cent of students and 93 per cent of faculty and staff who responded said that they will be vaccinated by the beginning of term.