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Sask. post-secondary schools dropping proof-of-vaccine policy for visitors, keeping mask policies

University of Saskatchewan, University of Regina, and Saskatchewan Polytechnic have updated their COVID-19 plans with the province days away from dropping some health measures. Global News / Files

With Saskatchewan dropping its proof-of-vaccine and negative test policy and mask mandates, post secondary institutions are updating their COVID-19 requirements.

Premier Scott Moe announced on Monday that the proof-of-vaccine or negative test requirement would be removed on Feb. 14. The remaining public health orders, including mandatory indoor masking, are set to expire on Feb. 28 and Moe said the government is not looking at extending the order.

Read more: Saskatchewan Health Authority lifting proof of vaccination for visitors, employees

The University of Regina will also be lifting its requirement for visitors to campus to provide proof of vaccination or a negative test on Monday, along with the province.

U of R will be keeping proof-of-vaccination and testing requirements in place for all registered faculty and staff who regularly attend campus.

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The university is also encouraging visitors and fully vaccinated students and staff, including those who have gotten a booster, to regularly conduct rapid antigen tests before coming to campus.

Starting Monday, U of R will be requiring “the small minority of individuals on campus who are unvaccinated/undeclared” to take a rapid test three times per week and submit those results to the vaccination portal.

The self-testing policy will remain in place until April 11, which is the last day of classes.

As for masking, the university is keeping its indoor masking requirement in place. This policy will be evaluated and adjusted if necessary.

The University of Saskatchewan (USask) is taking a similar approach.

As of Monday, individuals who are not vaccinated and who attend campus will need to use rapid tests three times a week and upload the results to PAWS until April 8.

Read more: USask students prepare for in-person learning amid COVID-19

The test kits will be supplied by USask.

According to USask, 99 per cent of the campus community is fully vaccinated.

Visitors will no longer need to show proof of vaccination to attend campus locations and events such as Huskie games, effective Monday.

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Patti McDougall with the pandemic response and recovery team at USask said the move comes after “careful evaluation” of the government’s announcement, and consultations with public health officials and legal experts.

Wearing three-ply single-use masks on all USask campuses and indoor locations will be required until April 30.

Saskatchewan Polytechnic, which has campuses in Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert and Moose Jaw, is removing a number of vaccination requirements on Monday.

This includes vaccination verification form submission by all students and employees, proof of vaccination for those fully vaccinated, and rapid testing three times a week and daily health checks for those who are not fully vaccinated.

Students, staff and visitors are still asked to stay home if they are feeling ill.

Masks will still be required inside all campus locations until April 26, which is the end of the winter term.

Read more: Canadian military investigating officer who publicly opposed COVID-19 measures

Saskatchewan Polytechnic president Larry Rosia said of the 10,800 students and employees who submitted their vaccination status, 98 per cent are fully vaccinated.

“Sask Polytech is a strong advocate that vaccination against COVID-19 is the single most effective public health measure to reduce the spread and harms of COVID-19,” Rosia said on Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s website.

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