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(Photo: University of Saskatchewan)

USask announces new COVID-19 vaccination measures for fall term

As a response to the COVID-19 fourth wave now underway across Canada, the University of Saskatchewan (USask) will expect all students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated this fall with World Health Organization (WHO)-approved COVID-19 vaccines before entering USask campuses.

Proof of a first vaccination will be required by Sept. 7 and of a second dose by Oct. 18. 

Individuals who are unable or who are unwilling to get vaccinated will be required to provide regular and frequent negative COVID-19 test results and to submit a daily symptom checklist in order to access USask campuses. These measures aim to minimize the health risks to all when on USask campuses.

The stronger vaccination and health safety measures result from recommendations by the university’s Pandemic Response and Recovery Team (PRT) in response to the emerging risk of Delta and other variants, as well as the stalled and comparatively low vaccination rates among those under 30 in Saskatchewan. Consultations with other Canadian institutions, USask faculty, and legal and public health experts have contributed to this decision.

“The science is unequivocal and overwhelming: vaccinations are the clearest path to beating COVID-19 and its dangerous variants,” said USask President Peter Stoicheff. “We are eager to resume as much in-person teaching, learning and research as we possibly can by January. Only widespread vaccination and testing throughout our campuses can make this happen.” 

Additionally, for those involved in higher-risk activities—including those living in residence and those involved in Huskie Athletics—vaccinations will be required for participation. Requests for exemption from this vaccination requirement will be considered in alignment with The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code. The university is currently reviewing other areas of programming that carry elevated COVID-19 transmission risks, and will update the campus community as those additional activities are identified.

All current COVID-19 health and safety measures remain in place including indoor mask requirements, wastewater testing, some continued on-line programming, space reconfigurations in high-traffic areas, and enhanced cleaning. Vaccination clinics will continue to be available on our Saskatoon campus.

“The health and safety of our campuses is a shared responsibility that requires all members of our university community to do their part,” Stoicheff said. “These new measures are endorsed by the university’s senior leadership and our Board of Governors. I am confident that these new measures will further protect the health and safety of our university community and of communities beyond.”

Full details on how to provide proof of vaccination will be announced in the coming days. 

New vaccination measures FAQs can be found here: 
https://covid19.usask.ca/about/vaccinations.php#NewVaccinationMeasuresFAQs

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