Abbotsford post-secondary institutions will only be declaring vaccinations mandatory if the provincial health authorities recommend them to do so.
The News reached out to both the University of the Fraser Valley and Columbia Bible College for details on their policies, after a number of universities in Ontario announced they will make it mandatory for students to be vaccinated.
Schools that have mandated COVID-19 vaccines include: the University of Ottawa, Western University, Ontario Tech University, University of Toronto, Seneca College and the University of Guelph. The University of Waterloo also stated that if students are not fully vaccinated, they would have to undergo twice-weekly antigen screenings.
No post-secondary institution in British Columbia has declared vaccinations to be mandatory.
“UFV will continue to adhere to the health and safety recommendations and requirements of Dr. Bonnie Henry, Fraser Health, the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training, and WorkSafeBC,” stated UFV director of communications Dave Pinton. “Vaccinations have not been declared mandatory by these authorities and vaccinations are not mandatory at UFV. The university strongly encourages members of our community to get vaccinated as this is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.”
UFV will enter step three of its return to campus on Aug. 16, which will see a 100 per cent return of staff and academic support faculty. Teaching faculty is scheduled to return 100 per cent when school begins on Sept. 7.
The News asked about UFV’s athletics department, as some schools are making vaccines mandatory for student-athletes but the department will be following the same guidelines as the rest of the school. Cascades sports teams will not travel outside of the province until 2022 at the earliest. However, the golf team is scheduled to travel to Calgary in late-September for the Dinos Invitational event.
CBC echoed much of what UFV said.
“While we strongly encourage members of the community to get the vaccine, Columbia will not be making COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for students, faculty, or staff, nor will we ask members of the campus community to disclose their vaccination status unless mandated by the Provincial Health Officer,” stated CBC’s Jessica Funk. “We encourage all members of the Columbia community to register for a vaccination.”
Funk added that provincial health authorities have determined that due to B.C.’s vaccination rates, the health risk is low for a return to campus this fall.
“In addition, there are equity, privacy, human rights, employment law and operational practicality considerations that inform Columbia’s decisions regarding vaccines,” she said. “We intend to host a vaccine clinic on campus in September since we believe the vaccines are the best way to protect against COVID-19.”
The CBC Bearcats basketball and volleyball teams only compete within B.C., but would have to travel outside of the province if the team qualifies for nationals.