COVID-19 Updates

NEW: Renison recently received new guidance from the Medical Officer of Health for the Region of Waterloo that strongly recommended a change to our plans for living in our residences. Your health and well-being are of the utmost importance, and we are committed to following the advice of public health to ensure your safety in residence. If you are moving into residence this fall, you must be either fully vaccinated or have made arrangements to do so by no later than November 1, 2021. Visit our COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements for Residence page for full details.

Read the latest updates from Renison University College HERE

COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement for Residence

Renison University College, along with the University of Waterloo and its affiliated University Colleges (St. Jerome’s, St. Paul’s, and Conrad Grebel) recently received new guidance from the Medical Officer of Health for the Region of Waterloo that strongly recommended making vaccination a requirement of living in residence. In response to this new guidance, all University of Waterloo residences, including those at Renison, will now require that students living in our residences for the 2021-2022 academic year be vaccinated against COVID-19. 

This measure is in addition to current measures put in place to restrict COVID-19 transmission, including offering only single residence room accommodations and safety protocols for communal areas.

While Renison and the University of Waterloo do not currently require vaccination to come to our campuses, leadership teams are urging everyone in our community to get first and second doses as soon as possible. Health Services is offering COVID-19 vaccines to everyone on campus. Call 519-888-4096 to make an appointment.  

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Are vaccinations mandatory in residence?
  2. Are there any exceptions to the mandatory vaccine policy? How do I submit a request for an accommodation? 
  3. Why are mandatory vaccines required in residences?
  4. Why was this decision made now?
  5. Will this mean vaccinations are required elsewhere? (on-campus activities such as sports, etc.?) 
  6. Do I just need the first vaccine or is the second shot required as well? 
  7. What proof of vaccination will be needed? What is the deadline to provide that? How do I provide that? 
  8. Does the type of vaccine matter? Will a foreign vaccination certificate be accepted? 
  9. What vaccines are recognized in Canada? 
  10. Will staff working in residence also be vaccinated?
  11. Am I able to get my COVID-19 vaccine on campus? How do I book a vaccine appointment?
  12. Will Renison Housing and Student Life turn students away from residence if they cannot show proof of vaccination upon arrival? 
  13. Will Renison be testing students for COVID-19 upon arrival in residence?
  14. Will I have to wear a mask in residence?
  15. Do I need to wear a mask or face-covering when I am on campus?
  16. Do I need to physically distance when I am on campus? 
  17. Where do I go for help?

Are vaccinations mandatory in residence? 

Renison, along with the University of Waterloo and its affiliated University Colleges (St. Jerome's, St. Paul’s, and Conrad Grebel) will require all first year, upper year, graduate and student staff living in residence to have received at least a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine prior to arrival in September. 

Students moving into residence need to have received their first dose of a Health Canada approved vaccine and submit vaccination documents before the move-in period. Students must also get a second dose of an approved vaccine in a reasonable amount of time, within the recommended interval according to public health officials in Ontario, and submit proof of a second dose during the Fall term. 

Vaccines that are approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization will also be accepted for international students. First and second dose appointments will be available on campus for students who require vaccination at the on-campus vaccine centre. 

Are there any exceptions to the mandatory vaccine policy? How do I submit a request for an accommodation? 

Those who for medical or other protected grounds under the Ontario Human Rights Code will not be vaccinated may request an accommodation.  

If you will not get vaccinated for medical reasons, sincerely held creed/religious beliefs, for philosophical reasons, or another reason protected by the Ontario Human Rights Code, you may request an accommodation by filling out an exemption form.   

Why are mandatory vaccines required in residences? 

People who live in congregate living spaces face unique risks for transmission of COVID-19. This requires special precautions, such as mandatory vaccines. COVID-19 vaccines are the most important tool for protecting our communities and ending the pandemic.  

Why was this decision made now? 

On Monday July 19, Renison and the University of Waterloo received new guidance from the Medical Officer of Health for the Region of Waterloo that strongly recommends a change to our plans for living in our residences. This change was also implemented with Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College. 

People who live in congregate living spaces face unique risks for transmission of COVID-19. The Delta variant has had a significant effect on our region, and we know that during the second wave of the pandemic, overall case volumes have been highest among those aged 20-29 years. Making sure that students can live in residences with very high rates of vaccination helps protect them and our whole community. 

Will this mean vaccinations are required elsewhere? (on-campus activities such as sports, etc.?) 

At this time, vaccination is not mandatory for accessing the Renison or Waterloo campuses. Any further decisions on vaccine requirements will be made in compliance with recommendations and guidelines from the province and Region of Waterloo Public Health officials.  

Do I just need the first vaccine or is the second shot required as well? 

We ask that students in residence aim to be fully vaccinated with both doses before their move-in date. Proof of vaccination will be required. Recognizing that this timing may be challenging for some residents to meet, the minimum requirement is that residents should ensure that they have received their first dose of a Health Canada approved vaccine, or WHO approved vaccine, before they move in. Interim arrangements will be made for students who arrive on campus without their first dose until they can provide proof of vaccinationStudents must also get a second dose of an approved vaccine as soon as possible within the recommended time period and provide proof that they have done so by November 1, 2021.

Waterloo anticipates being able to provide any eligible student their second dose vaccine at our on-campus vaccine centre during the fall term. Students who can receive a second dose vaccine prior to arriving to campus are strongly encouraged to do so. 

What proof of vaccination will be needed? What is the deadline to provide that? How do I provide that? 

More information on how to provide proof of vaccination to Renison will be sent by email in the coming weeks. We encourage you to keep any vaccination receipt(s) or record(s).

Does the type of vaccine matter? Will a foreign vaccination certificate be accepted? 

Students living in residence can receive any COVID-19 vaccine authorized by Health Canada. Vaccination documentation will be required for all students.

Health Canada has approved four vaccines for use in Canada: 

  • Pfizer-BioNTech – approved on December 9, 2020 
  • Moderna – approved on December 23, 2020 
  • AstraZeneca – approved on February 26, 2021 
  • Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) – approved on March 5, 2021

The new guidelines for individuals vaccinated outside of Ontario/Canada have been published by the Ontario Ministry of Health. For international students unable to access a vaccine authorized by Health Canada or listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO) before the fall, Waterloo plans to operate an on-campus vaccination clinic for students seeking their first and second doses of the vaccine. 

The following chart outlines actions based on vaccination status and vaccine type: 

Vaccination Type/Status

Action Upon Arrival on Campus

Unvaccinated

Receive full series of COVID-19 vaccines authorized by Health Canada. Must receive first dose prior to move-in.

One dose of Pfizer, Moderna or Astra-Zeneca

Receive second dose of COVID-19 vaccines authorized by Health Canada.

Two doses of Pfizer, Moderna or Astra-Zeneca

No additional vaccines required.

One dose of Johnson & Johnson

No additional vaccines required.

One dose of Sinovac or Sinopharm

Receive full series of COVID-19 vaccines authorized by Health Canada. Must receive first dose prior to move-in.*

Two doses of Sinovac or Sinopharm

No additional vaccines required.

Partial or full series of any other vaccines

Receive full series of COVID-19 vaccines authorized by Health Canada. Must receive first dose prior to move-in.*


* International students seeking their first dose of the Health Canada-authorized COVID-19 vaccine, may receive one at our on-campus vaccine centre as long as it is 28 days after their last vaccination. As per NACI recommendations, an interval of at least 28 days after the administration of any other vaccine should be taken before administrating the Health Canada-authorized COVID-19 vaccine.  

Renison will make the necessary concessions to its vaccination requirement for students who are required to wait longer than 14 days to receive their first dose of a Health Canada-authorized COVID-19 vaccine upon arrival on campus. 

If you are international student, please visit the Waterloo Student Quarantine Package site for details on quarantine requirements. 

What vaccines are recognized in Canada? 

Health Canada has approved four vaccines for use in Canada: 

  • Pfizer-BioNTech – approved on December 9, 2020 
  • Moderna – approved on December 23, 2020 
  • AstraZeneca – approved on February 26, 2021 
  • Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) – approved on March 5, 2021

Will staff working in residence also be vaccinated? 

Live-in staff (i.e. Residence Dons) will be required to be vaccinated unless granted an accommodation, as their living arrangements form part of their contractual duties. Residence Dons will be provided with appropriate PPE, be expected to follow health and safety protocols, and will receive additional safety training related to COVID-19

Am I able to get my COVID-19 vaccine on campus? How do I book a vaccine appointment?  

A vaccination centre is now available on the Waterloo campus at Health Services for all employees, students, and their families (more information below). The vaccine centre is open from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Monday to Friday (closed for statutory holidays). You must have an appointment, be COVID-19 symptom free, and have completed the daily campus check-in in order to access the centre.  

Learn more and book an appointment by visiting the COVID-19 vaccine centre webpage 

Will Renison Housing and Student Life turn students away from residence if they cannot show proof of vaccination upon arrival? 

Students who can’t access their first COVID-19 vaccine before arriving at Renison will have 14 days following their move-in date to get vaccinated, either on or off campus. Students who have not been vaccinated with their first dose within two weeks following their move-in date, or who have not been granted an accommodation to this requirement, will not be permitted to continue living in residence.

Will Renison be testing students for COVID-19 upon arrival in residence? 

Our current focus is on encouraging all students to get their COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. At this time, Renison is not planning to test students upon arrival in residence.

Will I have to wear a mask in residence? 

Region of Waterloo’s Face Covering By-law is in effect until the end of 2021. Students will be required to wear a non-medical mask or face covering in all shared common use areas in residence such as hallways, lounges, study rooms, and all shared complex areas. Masks are not required in a student’s private room. 

Do I need to wear a mask or face-covering when I am on campus? 

Face coverings are required in common use areas of campus buildings. This includes corridors, lobbies, washrooms, elevators, classrooms, teaching laboratories and meeting rooms. This decision is in accordance with the Region of Waterloo Face Covering By-law.  

Do I need to physically distance when I am on campus? 

In accordance with provincial guidance, Ontario colleges and universities will not be requiring physical distancing or capacity limits this fall. 

Where do I go for help? 

We recognize news of mandatory vaccines may leave you with many questions. If, after you review the questions outlined above you still have questions, please email Caroline Blouin, caroline.blouin@uwaterloo.ca and we will ensure your concerns are addressed.