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.
Earlier this week, we strengthened our safety measures against COVID-19 by introducing the requirement to provide proof of vaccination. We promised to get you information on how to submit your proof or apply for accommodation by the end of the week. That information follows below.
We urge you all to submit your information as quickly as possible. Your personal information will be kept confidential in compliance with statutory privacy requirements and will only be shared with health and safety staff as required to protect our community.
For those of you that request exemptions for medical or protected human rights grounds the usual confidential processes for assessing those accommodation requests through the relevant offices will be followed. We expect that accommodations on these grounds, based on regulatory or clinical definitions, will be rare. Other than through these processes, it is not appropriate for any member of the campus community to ask another member of the community to disclose their vaccination status.
Ensuring high rates of vaccination remains the most important way we can protect public health during the pandemic and reduce the spread of COVID-19. If you are hesitant to be vaccinated for any reason, please know that there is now overwhelming evidence that vaccines are safe and that they will protect you from the worst of COVID-19.
We are very pleased to report that of the roughly 5,000 students who will live in our residences this fall, 91 per cent have already submitted proof of being fully vaccinated. A further 7 per cent have told us they have had one shot and are on track to be fully vaccinated. This is really encouraging information and we hope to be able to share an update on the vaccine status of our whole community in the coming weeks.
Final plans for the fall term rely on provincial guidance
We had hoped to be able to write to you this week with final information about our approach to the fall term. In mid-July, the provincial government provided us direction that we could plan for the fall with the expectation that physical distancing and gathering limit requirements would be lifted. They advised us that more detailed guidance would be available by the beginning of August.
Out of an abundance of caution, we chose to continue with our plans for a more graduated return to campus this fall. Last week, the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore, announced that Ontario would pause indefinitely on lifting the current restrictions, known as Step 3. The provincial government has indicated that further guidance is forthcoming on what this will mean for our sector.
In the absence of this direction from the government, we are continuing to make sure that we have measures in place that will create safe working and learning environments. We have planned for a fall term that creates an expanded in-person experience for all, while putting measures in place to protect and promote safety. These include:
- Mandatory proof of vaccination policy
- Rapid antigen screening program
- New wastewater testing in some residences
- Health Services COVID-19 Vaccination and testing centre
- Capacity limits in classrooms
- Physical health and safety protocols including masking and enhanced cleaning
- Updated signs and visual aids
- Improved ventilation and filtration
We need to remain agile and ready to respond to any scenario that the government may announce for our sector – which could include changes to our plans for in-person experiences. We know many of you have questions as the start of term approaches. As soon as we have this guidance from the government, you can expect to hear more from us.
Thank you, again, for your patience as we plan and adapt to the ever-changing nature of this pandemic.
You can submit your proof of vaccination or start the process for accommodation today by visiting Campus Check-In.
If you are a student living in Campus Housing residences or AFIW residences that have already supplied proof of vaccination or sought an accommodation you do not need to resubmit your information.
To submit your proof of vaccination, you can upload your vaccination record or receipt. If you were vaccinated in Ontario, copies of your receipts are available on the Government of Ontario website.
For anyone who was vaccinated in Canada, copies of your receipts are available on the Government of Canada website.
If you were vaccinated outside of Canada, proof can include vaccination receipts or letters from physicians, hospitals, or government agencies that include the date you received the vaccine, the name of the vaccine and the number of valid doses you have received.
To apply for an accommodation, you can follow the prompts in the proof of vaccination form.
More information is 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.