It’s quiet on campus with the start of classes only weeks away, but when students do return for the fall term they will have to comply with the University of Victoria’s new vaccination policy.
Kane Kilbey, Associate Vice-President of Human Resources at UVic, says that all students, staff and faculty will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, otherwise they have to participate in periodic rapid testing until they become fully vaccinated.
“The University will pay for rapid testing,” Kilbey said. “It’s one of those health and safety investments that we’re prepared to make in order to keep this campus safe and to provide the assurances that our community is looking for.”
Dr. Gillian Calder is one of 23 UVic law professors who wrote the University’s administration calling for a vaccination policy and she says there could be consequences for anyone lying about their vaccination status.
“If you were to lie about that, and there was to be something that flowed from you’re being dishonest, for example, you passed the virus to someone else and the person became very ill, you would imagine that would have legal consequences,” Dr. Calder said.
“We actually trust that people will be honest and complete the declaration with the integrity that we’ve come to expect from our community,” Kilbey added.
Those who’ve heard the news are mainly supportive, including students returning to in-person learning.
“I was just reading the email not too long ago, and they were saying that people who are not vaccinated are going to have to get tested, and there is going to be an implementation on your vaccine card. So I think that’s really good,” said one student.
Not everyone is completely sold, however, including Dr. Catherine Harding, Professor of Medieval Studies.
“I’ve been looking at the different universities and what they’ve done across Canada,” said Dr. Harding. “Some are clearer about having a clear vaccine mandate. and that would have made me feel more secure.”
According to the University, not one case of COVID-19 has been traced back to UVic classes since the start of the pandemic.
WATCH: Faculty association calls for mandatory masks and vaccinations at UVic