Wednesday, August 25, 2021 | Category: Eduvation Insider
The pace of COVID19 vaccine policy announcements accelerated last week, and believe it or not, there are even more to report since my massive summary on Friday (see “A Flood of Vax Mandates,” ICYMI). Instead of repeating Friday’s approach, 14 pages long, I’m splitting up the survey across 2 issues, this morning and tomorrow morning.
If you want the blow-by-blow details since I started tracking this issue in March, you can of course consult the Insider Recap on Vaccination Policies. And I am now updating the data in my CdnPSE and COVID19 spreadsheet in real time.
So, grab a coffee and let’s get started with the US, Ontario, and eastern Canada…
Vaccines have long been a controversial issue south of the border, with anti-vaxxers embracing conspiracy theories and posing real challenges for public health professionals. The COVID19 vaccines have become a partisan issue in Congress too…
Many Republicans remain staunchly antivax, or profess to be while concealing their own vax status. This despite that fact that former president Donald Trump often takes credit for accelerating vaccine development with his “Operation Warp Speed.” This weekend, Trump’s own supporters booed him for encouraging vaccination, at a rally in Alabama – in a city that declared a state of emergency days earlier due to COVID19. (Ironically, they’re taking the same position as the Taliban in Afghanistan, which has started to ban the distribution of COVID19 vaccines.) Americans are evenly divided on the question of campus vax mandates: a recent Quinnipiac U poll found 48% in favour and 49% opposed.
The FDA granted COVID19 vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson only “Emergency Use Authorization” when they started to be deployed late last year. Many antivaxxers have used EUA as an excuse, and many colleges and other employers have questioned their legal right to make an EUA vaccine a requirement of study or work. That started to change on Monday, with the announcement of full FDA approvalfor the Pfizer vaccine (at least for those aged 16+), based on clinical trials with 44,000+ participants and a 360,000-page application. For Americans aged 12-15, Pfizer remains under an EUA. (Moderna has also filed for FDA approval, which may come soon.)
“If you’re a business leader, a nonprofit leader, a state or local leader who has been waiting for full FDA approval to require vaccinations, I call on you now to do that. Require it!” – Joe Biden, US President
The Pfizer vaccine will now be marketed under the brand name “Comirnaty,” to reflect its mRNA technology, “community” and “immunity,” and the collective good it will do to help bring about an end to the pandemic. Believe it or not, they have been working with a branding firm since Apr 2020 on the name! Other finalist names included Covuity, RnaxCovi, Kovimerna, and RNXtract. (Sheesh!) Moderna’s vaccine, once approved, will have a much cooler name: “SpikeVax.” NPR
Marching Orders for the Military
In order to “maintain military readiness,” the Pentagon was giving more than 1M members of the US military until Sep 15 to get vaccinated, even before full FDA approval. Service members live and work in close proximity in barracks and on ships, so COVID19 poses a threat to national security. (Many already are required to get up to 17 different vaccines, from Anthrax to Chicken Pox, depending upon where they are stationed.) Military COVID19 deaths jumped by one-third to 34 last month. Upon the FDA’s announcement Monday, the Pentagon intended to make the vaccine mandatory immediately. (COVID19 vaccination is currently voluntary for members of the Canadian Armed Forces, although it might be required for certain operations or positions.)
Back in July, the US Dept of Veterans Affairs ordered all staff be vaxxed by Sep, or face penalties including “removal.” California and New York City ordered government workers to get vaxxed or face regular COVID19 testing. President Joe Biden issued a directive for federal employees – which has generated support and opposition from major labour unions. Healthcare workers in Maryland either vax or test regularly. State employees in Connecticut, including teachers, must be vaxxed by Sep 27. University faculty and staff in Washington state must be fully vaxxed by Oct 18. K-12 teachers in jurisdictions from Oregon and Los Angeles to Chicago have to be fully vaxxed by Oct 15. Immediately following Monday’s FDA announcement, the New York City Department of Education (the largest in the US) made vaxxes mandatory for all teachers and staff.
Private Sector Mandates
High tech companies were early to mandate vaccination for their employees upon returning to the office, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Lyft. (Unsurprisingly, so was Pfizer.) Food processors like Tyson Foods have mandated the vax to keep plants operating. Airlines like United and Frontier have mandated vaccinations to keep their flights in the air. (United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby has reportedly sent “dozens” of condolence letters to the families of employees who died from COVID19.)
Last week, New York City announced the first US vaccine passport system, for access to restaurants, bars, gyms and entertainment venues as of Sep 13. As of Aug 16, New Orleans requires customers at bars, restaurants, strip clubs, casinos, stadiums, concerts and skating rinks to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID19 test to gain admission. As of Aug 20, San Francisco will require the same. Restaurant reservation platform OpenTable is integrating Clear digital vaccine cards in their app, to launch in September.
While 773 US college campuses (about one-quarter of the nation) have already imposed mandatory COVID19 vaccine requirements on their students for the Fall, full FDA approval on Monday is a “game-changer” that will encourage many more to “get off the fence” just as students begin arriving on campus for the Fall…
CUNY and SUNY indicated they were waiting for full FDA approval before requiring vaccination. Now, SUNY is giving 400,000 students and 85,000 faculty at its 64 campuses 35 days to get double-vaxxed, or request a medical or religious exemption. Times Union
uMemphis intended to pursue a vax mandate immediately, with students returning to campus the same day. Memphis Commercial Appeal
uMinnesota added the COVID19 vax to its list of required vaccinations on Monday. Students will need to confirm their vaccination status, while faculty and staff are being asked to attest. UM
Ohio State U announced yesterday that all 66,000 students and 30,000 employees will need COVID19 vaccinations this Fall, making it the largest state university to extend a vax mandate to staff and faculty. First doses are required by Oct 15 and 2nd doses by Nov 15, with a “limited set” of “case-by-case” exemptions. Boston Globe
Washington State U warns students that if unvaxxed, they may need to wear a mask on campus, may be barred from some campus events, and will not be able to register for Spring 2022 classes. University Business
Indiana U imposed a vaccine requirement on faculty, students and staff back in May, and it has survived repeated court challenges in the Federal District, Appeals, and US Supreme Court. Several students argued that IU was demanding they relinquish their constitutional rights, and “coercing students to give up their rights to bodily integrity, autonomy, and of medical treatment choice.” (IU does offer religious and medical exemptions.) Washington Post
“Each university may decide what is necessary to keep other students safe in a congregate setting.” – Judge Frank Easterbrook, 7th Circuit US Court of Appeals
Thousands Yet to Comply
The CDC is recommending colleges conduct surveillance testing for COVID19 among unvaxxed members of their community, and so many institutions are demanding proof of vaccination status – but with just days to go before the return to campus, many students have not yet complied. West Virgina U reported 8,500 missing documents with just 1 day to go. After a few days grace, they will face a “judicial hold” on their records. Louisiana State U reported 19,000 students (more than half its enrolment) had yet to comply. Chronicle of Higher Ed
Quinnipiac U (CT) is resorting to a tried and true parenting tactic to encourage vaccination among its students: the 600 who remain unvaxxed could lose access to campus wifi this Fall, as well as facing fines of $100 per week, and the requirement of weekly COVID19 testing. Hartford Courant
uVirginia “disenrolled” 242 students earlier this week because they were not fully vaxxed against COVID19. 49 had already selected courses for the Fall term, which begins Aug 24. CBS19
uTexas at Austin has modelled potential COVID19 spread on campus this Fall and the costs to respond, concluding that the difference between 60% and 80% student vaccination could cost UTA almost $4M, including $2M on rapid tests. UTA
Stanford U is requiring weekly COVID19 tests for students on campus, whether they are vaxxed or not – reflecting the growing awareness that even vaxxed individuals can contract and spread the Delta variant. Stanford
If one-quarter of US colleges have imposed vax mandates, how do we compare in Canada? Since Friday, 6 more ONpses have announced vax mandates on campus, bringing the total up from 36 to 42 (out of 47 I’m watching – in other words, 89.4%).
Toronto Public Health is recommending all employers require proof of COVID19 vaccination. The City of Toronto is requiring all employees be double-vaxxed by Oct 30. Major Canadian banks are complying with Ottawa’s directive to impose mandatory vax policies on employees. Toronto’s University Health Network has told all employees they will be fired by Oct 22 if they are not fully vaxxed.
The latest ONpse additions include:
Canadore College announced last Thursday that anyone coming to campus must attest to being fully vaccinated as of Sep 7. North Bay Nugget
George Brown College announced Monday that individuals accessing its facilities as of Sep 7 will need to provide either verification of full vaccination or a negative COVID19 rapid test within 48 hours of entry. Education News Canada | CityNews | GBC Policy
uGuelph-Humber has also announced a vaccine requirement for all students and instructors who will be in the classroom on campus this Fall, following uGuelph and others. The unvaxxed may be required to undergo regular COVID19 testing. UG-H
Humber College hasn’t made a public announcement, but the vaccine policy statement says that individuals coming to campus must provide proof of full vaccination by Oct 18, or obtain an exemption on human rights, medical or conscientious grounds. Students and employees have been asked to declare their vax status by Sep 7. Humber
Northern Ontario School of Medicine announced last Thursday that faculty, staff and students must be fully vaxxed by Oct 7, complete training and provide an attestation. Sudbury.com |
There were also some clarifications, largely driven by a provincewide recommendation from the Council of Ontario Medical Officers of Health…
Carleton U clarified yesterday that it now expects proof of a 1st dose by Sep 8 and a 2nd by Oct 15 for anyone coming to campus. Vax receipts or documentation must be uploaded to the cuScreen portal. Those exempted will need to provide a negative rapid test result within 72 hours of any on-campus activity. Those without an exemption who refuse to be vaxxed will be banned from in-person activities on campus. Carleton | Global | CTV
uGuelph clarified Monday that anyone coming to campus as of Sep 7 must register their proof of vaccination. Those exempted must obtain a negative COVID19 test within 72 hours before accessing indoor spaces. uGuelph | CTV | CBC
Mohawk College shared details of the process for submitting proof of vaccination through the Mohawk Safety app or online portal. Mohawk
Niagara College shared details of the process for submitting proof of vaccination through the student portal, myNC. NC
uToronto clarified Thursday that it will require staff and students to show proof of COVID19 vaccination, not merely provide a self-declaration. (Critics complained the previous policy was “smoke and mirrors.”) The alternative is enrolment in the university’s twice-weekly rapid screening program. CBC | The Varsity
uWaterloo clarified yesterday that proof of vaccination will be required for campus access after Sep 7, in response to a recommendation from the Council of Ontario MOHs. All members of the Council of Ontario Universities have agreed to act on this recommendation. uWaterloo
At this point, I still haven’t seen any recent announcements from Northern College, Sault College, or Tyndale U. (Let me know if I’ve missed them!) The only vocal hold-outs in Ontario seem to be Fanshawe College, and Redeemer University (who says they will wait for provincial guidelines).
My guess is ONpse will get to 100% by Labour Day, but other regions are less clear-cut…
Regular readers will perhaps be unsurprised that the François Legault government has been loathe to impose vaccine requirements on CEGEPS and universities – or even to signal that they will be PERMITTED to do so themselves…
Masks Mandated Again
It’s a major win, frankly, that the Quebec government announced yesterday a return to mandatory mask policies in K-12 classrooms, thanks to the surging Delta variant. Education Minister Jean-François Roberge assured parents that classroom bubbles would not be reinstated this year, although protocols for isolation and quarantine are still rather weak. Montreal Gazette
“Passports for Freedom”
The Quebec government has unveiled a vaccine passport system, to start Sep 1. Anyone age 13+ wishing to access “non-essential services” (such as bars, restaurants, gyms, theatres or live events) will have to show proof of vaccination – but the government insists universities are an “essential” service. Proof of vaccination will be required from university students who want to participate in some high-risk extracurricular activities, such as athletics. (The iphone app “VaxiCode” can be downloaded as of 8am this morning. Android users have to wait until later this week.) Beginning Sep 15, businesses that fail to check vax passports can face fines of up to $6,000. Global | CTV | Globe & Mail
Opposition Urges More
Dominique Anglade, leader of the Quebec Liberal party, is urging the government to mandate vaccination for government employees, education and childcare workers, and all students at CEGEPs and universities in the province. CTV
So far, QCpse news is all about labour union pressure…
Bishop’s U faculty union APBU is reportedly asking university administration to implement a vax mandate for staff, students, and campus visitors this Fall. The university FAQ page says that “for now one does not need to be vaccinated” to attend classes. Bishop’s
Concordia U is not planning to impose a vaccine mandate, although labour unions are reportedly meeting to discuss how a vax passport could apply to campus activities. Global
McGill U faculty are urging the administration to impose a vax mandate. The McGill Association of University Teachers, the School of Population and Global Health, the departments of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, and a group of law profs all wrote to administration last week. The Students’ Society president says he could support a mandate, so long as it can accommodate international students. Globe & Mail | Global
As of my last summary, in Atlantic Canada only Mount Allison and St Thomas U had announced a vaccine mandate, and Cape Breton U had announced a vax requirement in residence. It’s been a busy few days, and now 9 institutions (maybe 10?) have implemented campuswide mandates, and 1 a mandate for athletes.
Memorial U announced Friday that it will require students, staff and faculty to be vaccinated and wear masks on campus. On Monday, MUN clarified that 1st doses of any HC/WHO approved vaccine will be required by Sep 7, and 2nd doses by Oct 15. Accommodations will be granted for some exemptions. (CUPE, the staff union, says it supports vaccination but also wants to ensure member rights are protected. MUNFA says faculty support the decision, so long as those unable to be vaccinated are accommodated. CFS-NL says students are concerned by the lack of details. MUNSU says it does not support mandatory vaccinations for all, but is “reevaluating its stance.”) MUN Gazette | Globe & Mail | CBC | CBC (CFS)
Mount St Vincent U became the first NS university to announce a vax requirement on Monday. MSVU will require students, faculty and staff to prove they are fully vaccinated against COVID19 by Oct 13 at the latest. Those who are exempted will be tested for COVID19 twice weekly. The question of WHO-approved vaccines not recognized by HC has been put to the local PHO. MSVU | Global | CBC |
“The evidence is clear: getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the best way to protect yourself and others, and is our surest way out of this pandemic.” – Ramona Lumpkin, Interim President, Mount St Vincent U
UNB has reversed its previous position on Friday (perhaps in the wake of the province’s Thursday announcement of mandatory vaccination for all government employees), announcing that vaccines will be required for students, staff and faculty this Fall. Anyone not fully vaxxed will be subject to regular testing. (The student unions are supportive, “as long as the process is fair and equitable.”) UNB | CBC | Global | UNBSU
NBCC announced yesterday that it will require students to be fully vaccinated against COVID19, or submit to masking and testing requirements. Protocols are still being developed by the NB government and PHO. Masks are required again as of yesterday. (NBCC said last week it did not plan to mandate vaccinations, but the employee union was urging it to reconsider just yesterday.) CBC | Global
NSCC announced yesterday that students and employees at all NSCC campuses will be required to show proof of full vaccination by Oct 12. Those who are unable or unwilling to be vaxxed will be required to wear masks on campus, and get COVID19 tests twice weekly. NSCC | CBC | Global
UPEI announced yesterday that full COVID19 vaccination will be mandatory for students, staff and faculty by Oct 18. The unvaxxed will need to disclose their vaccination status, undergo weekly testing and wear masks. 85% of faculty surveyed felt the requirement was a priority. CBC
St Francis Xavier U’s faculty association is pushing for a mandatory vax policy, since some classrooms are “smaller rooms in older buildings with a lack of ventilation or improper ventilation.” Last week, StFX administrators said they were not planning to mandate vaccinations. CBC
Saint Mary’s U (Halifax) announced Friday that it will adopt mandatory vaccine requirements for students in residence, varsity and club athletics, and for athletics staff and coaches. All must be fully vaxxed by Oct 15, as must “people who have had COVID19.” I think SMU may be trying to confuse everyone else into getting their shots: the announcement also says “the goal is to have everyone in the SMU community… fully vaccinated by Oct 15,” and that everyone “not subject to the mandatory requirement for vaccinations are required to follow public health recommendations to be fully vaccinated.” Effective Sep 1, there will be an “anonymous form for self-declaration of vaccination status,” and asymptomatic rapid testing will be available on campus. Exemptions will be provided. (SMU reportedly decided that mandating vaccinations for all by Sep 1 was not achievable.) SMU News | SMU Info | CBC
By province, that makes 5 out of 6 in NBpse (83%), perhaps 3 out of 10 in NS (30%), 1 out of 2 in PEI (50%), and 1 out of 2 in NL (50%). But at the rate the announcements are coming, these may rise to 100% within another week.
West of Ontario, things are moving quickly too. So far I’m tracking 73% of MBpse has announced a vax mandate, 60% of SKpse, and 32% of ABpse – although that’s a moving target too. And BCpse is a whole other story…
Stay tuned tomorrow!
Here’s a really striking new higher ed campaign out of Australia…
uAdelaide released a series of spots earlier this month produced with agency Richards Rose. The “Make History” campaign highlights famous and successful alum, from Nobel prize winners to Australian prime ministers, top 100 rankings, numerous “firsts,” and a “tradition of being untraditional on a global scale.” It has a lively, self-deprecating style and ultimately builds to the key question: “So, what’s next?” YouTube | Mumbrella
As always, thanks for reading! I’ll be back tomorrow with the rest of the cross-Canada vaccine mandate update.
Please do drop me a line if you spot something interesting, thought-provoking or cool happening on your campus, or elsewhere in the world!
Stay safe and be well!
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