THUNDER BAY — Confederation College says it expects students and staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to access its campuses in person this fall.
In a clarification issued Wednesday, a college spokesperson said vaccinations will not be mandatory, but the college is "strongly encouraging everyone to get fully vaccinated" for the start of the semester.
College President Kathleen Lynch had announced late Tuesday afternoon that anyone attending classes, labs, support services or other activities is expected to be completely vaccinated by Tuesday, Sept. 7.
Fully vaccinated is defined as having received two Canadian-approved vaccine doses and having completed the 14-day waiting period following the second dose.
The president's statement said medical exemptions will be respected if appropriate documentation is provided.
The expectation that students be vaccinated does not apply to students learning remotely or online.
"With the continued and real threat of COVID-19, the steady supply of vaccines in Canada, and our move to increased on-campus activities, implementing this approach is the best way to stop the spread of infections and to keep our college community safe," Lynch said.
She said the college administration is taking into account assurances from government authorities that vaccines will be generally available to everyone.
"We anticipate that if international students arrive in Canada unvaccinated, they will be offered the opportunity to be vaccinated while in quarantine," Lynch added, noting that international students currently in the country are already fully eligible for vaccinations.
Seneca College last week became the first college in Ontario to announce a mandatory vaccination requirement for all students and staff coming on campus.
Lakehead University announced Monday that all students living in residence must have at least their first vaccination shot and a plan to obtain their second dose.
The provincial government has told all colleges and universities that capacity limits and physical distancing will not be required when the fall semester starts.
However, programs at Confederation College that were previously scheduled to be delivered 100 per cent online in the new term will remain online.
Students with on-campus learning will receive additional information about their schedules prior to the start of the semester.
NOTE: This story has been updated to clarify that although the college expects students and staff to be vaccinated before coming to campus, vaccinations will not be mandatory