Eduvation Blog

Vax to the Max?

Good morning, and happy Milk Chocolate day!

(Oh OK, yes, the WHO has also declared today World Hepatitis Day, but who wants to celebrate THAT amidst a pandemic?)

I misspoke on Monday when I said I would be back “tomorrow” – I’m trying to go with alternate days this summer – but as promised, we have some updates and discussion about the biggest variable at present affecting CdnPSE’s plans for Fall: vaccination policies. The dominoes have really been falling in Ontario lately, and by my count we’re now at 23 CdnPSEs making vaxxes mandatory.

I’ve also got some queries and postscripts, at the behest of you, my dedicated summertime readers…



The Time is Now

Canada has made considerable progress on vaccination, although time remains tight to prepare for the Fall…


66M Doses in Canada

As of yesterday, Canada has officially received enough COVID19 vaccine to double-vax everyone over age 12 (66M doses), although actual doses administered amount to 80/63 of the eligible population (and just 70/56 of the total). We’re doing better than any other G7 nation, but the challenge remains the 7M or so who are still hesitant – not to mention the millions of children under age 12. (Pfizer expects some early results from clinical trials with children by Fall, but it won’t change back-to-school this year.)  Globe & Mail


Deadline Yesterday

McMaster U is reminding students that, to be fully vaccinated by the start of the Fall term, students must get their first dose by Jul 27 and their second by Aug 24.  McMaster Daily News


“It’s a call to arms for all those students who haven’t yet received their first doses to start thinking about it this week. Please!”Kieran Moore, CMOH Ontario



Vaccine Mandates

It’s been fascinating to witness the rapid succession of announcements, particularly in Ontario, of mandatory vaccination policies for September – particularly since things moved so slowly in April and May (see the Insider Recap on Vaccination Policies). Since my last summary, we’ve jumped from 14 to 23 CdnPSEs mandating vaccines, and almost all of the latest announcements represent an about-face on previous public statements…


Brock U announced Monday that “full vaccination will be mandatory” for all students living on campus. Students must have at least 1 dose prior to move-in, and a second within 14 days.  Brock


Conestoga College announced last week that students living in residence will be required to be vaccinated against COVID19, “based on advice” from the Waterloo PHO. At a minimum, students must have their first dose of a Health Canada approved vaccine 14 days prior to move-in, and should aim to be fully vaxxed.  Conestoga


George Brown College is making full vaccination mandatory for students living in residence or participating in varsity athletics.  CityNews


uGuelph announced last week that students in its Guelph campus residences will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID19, as recommended by the local PHO “in the strongest possible terms.” Students must be fully vaxxed within 30 days of move-in. Students living in family housing or off-campus, faculty, staff and campus visitors are exempt from the requirement.  UofG


“Requiring vaccinations for students living in residence is consistent with the best current scientific understanding of COVID19 and the University’s mission to improve life. Making this a requirement in residence will help all members of campus return to a more normal campus experience and avoid a serious surge in cases this fall.” Nicola Mercer, MOH, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health



Mohawk College announced last week that students moving into campus residences this Fall must have at least 1 dose of COVID19 vaccine. Students unable to obtain a shot prior to arrival will have 14 days after move-in to do so. Residence occupancy will be doubling this Fall, from 50% to 95% capacity.  Hamilton Spectator


Sault College is making vaccines mandatory for all students living in residence or participating in varsity athletics, as well as staff and coaches. Students must be fully vaxxed by Sep 20. “We were comfortable… to be able to just focus on the residence and varsity athletics… because they are in such close, tight quarters.”  CTV


uWaterloo announced last week that proof of vaccination will be required of all students living in campus residences, “based on new advice” from the Waterloo PHO. “All first year, upper year, graduate and live-in student staff” must have a Health Canada or WHO approved shot to live in residence. (Students and dependents in family housing do not face the same requirement.) Students should aim to be fully vaxxed before move-in, but at a minimum must have their first shot, and receive their second by Nov 1.  UW


Wilfrid Laurier U announced last week that all students living in residence during the 2021-22 academic year will be required to be vaccinated against COVID19. The measure was “strongly recommended” by the Waterloo PHO, and “endorsed” by the Brant PHO. Those who arrive unvaxxed will have 7 days to get their first dose. Accommodations will be made for students on medical or human rights grounds.  WLU


“We are listening to the science and following the recommendation of public health to move to mandatory vaccinations for students living in residence. This will allow us to get back to the thriving campus community we all want.”Ivan Joseph, VP Student Affairs, Wilfrid Laurier U



In Summary

You can review my Vaccine Policy coverage since March, or see the spreadsheet summary (columns I, J and K), but here’s where we seem to be right now:


Most of CdnPSE Silent

Across most of Canada (YK, NWT, NV, BC, AB, MB, SK, QC, NB, PEI and NL), colleges and universities have either been silent on the issue, or have insisted that they will not mandate vaccinations this Fall. Outside of Ontario, only Cape Breton U has announced a vaccine requirement in residence.


Now HALF of ONpse

But in Ontario, 22 institutions (9 colleges and 13 universities) have announced a vax requirement for students in residence this Fall, and 2 colleges (Seneca and Confederation) have gone even further, making vaccinations mandatory for all students, faculty and staff on campus. (That leaves 26 institutions I’m tracking in Ontario who have not made vaccines mandatory.) Most other ONpses have either been silent on the matter, or indicated that discussions are still ongoing. Some of the most vocal early opponents to the idea (like Brock, McMaster and Waterloo) have recently changed their positions.


Vive La Résistance?

Across Quebec, institutions have been clear that they will not mandate vaccination unless the provincial government takes the lead (and that looks unlikely). It’s interesting to note that the holdouts in Ontario are concentrated in regions with strong Francophone presence as well, such as Ottawa (Algonquin and Carleton) and Northern Ontario (Collège Boréal and Lakehead U). It will be interesting to see whether those positions also change in the weeks ahead…



Supporting Voices

Many student, faculty and PHO voices support mandatory vaccination as a way to get the campus experience back to something more normal this Fall…


UBC Students

The UBC Alma Mater Society has published a strongly-worded open letter to UBC exec and board, urging the institution to consider mandatory masks in lecture halls and requiring vaccination of students living in residence. AMS reports that 82% of 7,933 students surveyed want mandatory vaccinations in residence. (The AMS is extending the mask requirement in its own facilities this Fall.) UBC VP Students Ainsley Carry responds that the provincial guidelines “are not a minimum standard… but a high standard,” and that there were “very few issues” with COVID19 in residences over the past 18 months. UBC Director of University Affairs Matthew Ramsey reiterates Bonnie Henry’s incorrect claim that “there are no vaccines in Canada that are mandatory.” (In BC perhaps, but Ontario and several other provinces have made several vaccines mandatory from Kindergarten on up.)   CBC  |  Global  |  CTV


“There is no doubt that the university is aligned with the PHO. There is also no doubt that it is unacceptable for UBC, an institution that prides itself as a leader across the country, to only be doing the bare minimum in ensuring the safety and security of its students, staff, and faculty.” UBC Alma Mater Society, Open Letter



International Students

A recent QS Survey of 3,853 international students found that 70% think vaccines should be a prerequisite before travelling to their study destination, and 52% support vaccine passports as a prerequisite to going on campus. Moreover, a new IDP Connect survey of 4,000+ international students finds that 53% are already fully vaxxed, and only 10% are hesitant. Almost half, though, expressed some discomfort with the idea of receiving their second dose in their host country.



The Middlesex-London Health Unit says it would support Western U if it decided to extend the vaccine requirement from its residence halls to the entire campus, as the UWO Faculty Association has urged. “[We] would support mandatory vaccination protocols in businesses and in post-secondary institutions, acknowledging that there’s many other considerations that have to be discussed and determined.”  Global


uWaterloo in Favour

CTV News reports that some faculty members at uWaterloo are encouraging the institution to extend vaccine mandates from residence halls to the entire campus, to prevent further outbreaks.  CTV


UK University Staff

The UK’s University and College Union is urging the governments of Britain, Scotland and Northern Ireland to ensure that university campuses don’t become “incubators for COVID19 all over again” by making face masks and full vaccination of all students mandatory by September.  The Guardian



Opposing Voices

Despite the voices in support, many political activists, philosophers and academics believe that a vaccine mandate is not justified…


UCU also Objects?

While the UK’s UCU wrote to governments last week urging a vaccine mandate (see above), it is also simultaneously, contradictorily, objecting to mandatory vaccinations as “hugely discriminatory against those who are unable to get vaccinated.” Boris Johnson apparently “raged” about the low vaccination rate among youth, and proposed making vaccination compulsory for students in university residences or lecture halls. In response the UCU is now urging that students be “prioritized” and “offered” 2 doses before September, but that vaccination not be made compulsory “as a condition to access their education.”  Times Higher Ed  The Independent


UBC Faculty

Alan Richardson, president of the UBC Faculty Association, wrote Monday that, while he has “sympathy” for those who believe mask and vaccine requirements would be appropriate this Fall and acknowledges that “a moral argument can be made,” the UBCFA cannot responsibly advocate for them at this time. UBCFA is demanding a transparent and detailed risk-benefit analysis, considering the increased workload of student accommodations, intellectual property in online or hyperflex teaching, sick days for sessionals, and faculty health vulnerabilities. “It would be unconscionable for the University to send its faculty and its students into the classroom in the fall without substantial guidance on fundamental issues such as these.”  UBCFA


Constitutional Rights Centre

Canada’s Constitutional Rights Centre announced Monday that it has sent legal notices to Western U and Seneca College threatening lawsuits unless the institutions cancel their vaccine mandates. The CRC claims the policies make “an arbitrary and unlawful distinction between vaccinated and unvaccinated students,” and violate the Healthcare Consent Act and Personal Health Information Protection Act. “Educational institutions have no business pressuring, influencing, forcing, compelling, coercing, nor extorting students to assume an Emergency Use Authorization only inoculation as a term of attending.”  True North News



Tokyo Olympics Redux

I did mention on Monday that my sampling of CdnPSE Olympians was nowhere near complete, but since a couple of readers went to the trouble of setting the record straight, here’s a bit of a postscript…

Laurentian U is cheering on grad Carling Zeeman, who began her rowing career at LU in 2009.  CBC

uGuelph is proud of 6 current and former Gryphons competing in Tokyo: Emily Armstrong (artistic swimming), Andrea Seccafien (cross-country), Sarah Douglas (sailing), Peter Disera (mountain biking), Geneviève Lalonde (track and field), and Britt Benn (women’s rugby).  UofG

Thompson Rivers U is cheering on 2 former WolfPack athletes competing in volleyball at the 2020 Summer Games: Gord Perrin (captain of the Canada team) and Kevin Tillie (for France).  TRU WolfPack


And lest you think my concern that the Tokyo Games could be a superspreader event for Japan was misplaced…

Tokyo Breaks All-Time Records

But not in a good way: Tokyo reported 3,177 new cases of COVID19 yesterday alone, as the city continues in a state of emergency and there is widespread public opposition against holding the Olympics. So far there is “no evidence of the disease being transmitted from Olympics participants to the general public” (although athletes are not required to be vaccinated), but the thousands of volunteers working at the Games are cause for concern. So far, there have been 153 confirmed cases of COVID19 among Olympic “stakeholders.” Just 25.5% of Japan is fully vaxxed.  AP



Readers Ask

Every day I get email notes and queries from subscribers, and I do my best to answer them – but sometimes I wonder whether other readers couldn’t do a better job…


Academic/Career Advising?

Reader Terina Mailer, Manager of Academic Advising at UBC Okanagan, is looking for examples of institutions that are combining academic and career advising programs really well. (UBCO is currently bringing them together under one umbrella.)


Does anyone have a good example for Terina?



High School Visits?

Reader Brian Scriver, associate registrar at St Francis Xavier U in NS, asks if there are any data points yet about whether secondary schools across Canada will be allowing recruiters to visit. (So far, the only announcements I’ve noticed come from provincial education ministries, and focus on academic delivery plans for Fall. It’s possible that school visitor policies will be determined week-to-week based on local PHO guidance, but that’s just a guess on my part.)


Does anyone have a better answer for Brian?





In keeping with our uncertainty about the Fall…


Own the Unknown

Australia’s uQueensland released a visually dynamic 30-sec commercial this week encouraging potential students to embrace the unknowns that fill our future, and explore everything there is to know about them. “When you learn from the best teachers in the nation, you’ll be ready with the skills to adapt, act, and challenge.”  YouTube



As always, thanks for reading!  

Please do drop me a line if you spot something interesting, thought-provoking or cool happening on your campus, or elsewhere in the world!

I’ll be back Friday – meanwhile, stay safe and be well!


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