This message was originally sent to students and employees by Vivek Goel, president and vice-chancellor and James W.E. Rush, vice-president, academic and provost.
As the fall term draws closer, we wanted to provide you with further context and details on our approach to prioritizing the health and safety of our campus community and our commitment to ensuring that as many of our community as possible are fully vaccinated. Achieving the highest rate of vaccination possible is our most important tool to overcome this pandemic.
Last week, we announced that, starting September 1, anyone who comes to our campuses will be required to declare their vaccination status, and those that do not report being vaccinated must undergo regular COVID testing. We want to assure you all that we will be diligent and responsive as we implement this plan, and wish to provide further details.
We are encouraged to see that several other Ontario institutions are adopting similar plans.
Indeed, our sector has led the way in implementing vaccine mandates, that many other organizations are now adopting. As always, our requirements may change moving forward in response to changes in the public health environment and further guidance from government and public health officials.
The process to declare your vaccination status will be mandatory for anyone coming on to campus. The University will require you to provide an attestation that the information you give is accurate and truthful to the best of your knowledge. For those who are not vaccinated or choose not to answer, you will be asked to provide an attestation that you will participate in the rapid antigen screening program which will allow you to come to our campuses.
We trust that our community members will act with integrity and honesty in completing these attestations. Along with many organizations, we continue to advocate for the provincial government to provide an easily accessible proof of vaccination system. At this time, we plan to continue to rely on your self-declaration of vaccination status. However, we will ask you to consent to providing proof of your vaccination or test result status at any time if it is required.
We are committed to keeping all information you provide completely confidential and will only publicly disclose aggregate information. In order to properly administer the program to attain maximum compliance, we will follow up with individuals who do not participate in the vaccination self-declaration, screening or testing processes. Failure to participate may result in changes in your access to our campuses.
Starting September 1, the declaration must be completed before coming on to campus. We are asking all members of the community to complete the declaration by October 1, regardless of whether you are coming on to campus. You can expect us to be in touch with you before the start of term to let you know how to complete your declaration.
In July we announced proof of vaccination requirements for students living in residence to mitigate the risk in these congregate living settings. We are making very good progress in securing documentation from students moving into our residences.
To further protect our community, we are also developing a framework to assess other high-risk activities that will require mandatory proof of vaccination. This program of mandatory vaccination will soon add our clinical programs and placements. We will share information on other high-risk activities in the coming weeks.
We are grateful for your understanding, patience and adaptability as we prepare for an important fall term ahead.
More information and a collection of Frequently Asked Questions are available on the COVID-19 information website.
COVID-19 testing, rapid screening and vaccination is available through Campus Wellness for all University of Waterloo students, employees, postdocs and their family members.
If you are struggling with your mental health during these changing times, reach out for support through Human Resources, Occupational Health, Here247 and Wellness Together Canada. Ongoing employees can access supports through Homewood Health, the University’s Employee and Family Assistance Program partner or at 1-800-663-1142.