UBC president says he supports mandatory masks and vaccination, stops short of making it policy

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – There have been mounting calls for UBC to make masks and vaccines mandatory on campus this fall. But the university’s president is still not committing to such a policy, only saying he is in favour of the idea and is in talks with the province.

Santa J. Ono says in light of the surge in cases, school should require masks and vaccinations for anyone living in residence or taking part in high-density activities.

“First, I believe that instituting both will be critical to allow us to start the term with the confidence of our community. Second, just as the Provincial Health Officer has mandated vaccination for all working in long-term care facilities, I think we should do the same, at least in high-density residences and high contact circumstances such as Varsity athletics and theatre/music, in light of the surge in cases driven by the delta variant of SARS-CoV2,” reads Ono’s statement on UBC’s website.

Several Canadian universities have already declared COVID-19 vaccinations will be mandatory on campus, including York and McGill universities, as well as University of Guelph. Ryerson and Humber are examples of post-secondary institutions that will require people be vaccinated in residence.

While UBC has the power to make these changes, it’s been following the province’s lead.

Meantime, Ono urges everyone who is eligible to be vaccinated to register and get their shots.

In his statement, he acknowledged “some of you are concerned about ventilation of classrooms, labs, and other indoor spaces.”

He says they are doubling efforts to make sure UBC spaces “meet or exceed” guidelines from WorkSafeBC and the BC Centre for Disease Control.

Ono says rapid testing clinics and vaccination clinics will be set up at both the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses. More details on those and other preparations for the return to UBC campuses in the coming weeks.

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