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Mount Allison, STU to implement mandatory campus-wide vaccination policies


Mandatory campus-wide vaccination policies are being implemented by two Maritime universities, while other institutions around the region watch closely.

Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B. made its announcement Thursday morning, followed later in the afternoon by St. Thomas University in Fredericton.

The two schools are the first in the Maritimes to make vaccinations mandatory for all students, faculty, and staff.

The administration at Mount Allison says everybody on campus should be fully vaccinated by Oct. 1.

"In recent weeks we've seen the COVID situation become more problematic," says Anne Comfort, Mount Allison's vice-president of international and student affairs. "We're seeing more infectious variants."

Mount Allison says unvaccinated people will still be able to learn or work on campus, but will be subject to regular testing and the requirement of wearing a mask. The university is asking students to arrive on campus with proof of vaccination readily available.

"We're working on a secure submission process and we'll communicate that to (students, faculty, and staff) within the first week of class," says Comfort.

The students' union at Mount Allison supports the school's decision to enforce a mandatory vaccination policy.

"The one thing that we didn't want was students constantly being interrogated about whether or not they were vaccinated," says students' union president Charlie Burke, "As long as it's done in a way that's not intimidating or in any sense disrupting the normal day to day, that in our view is appropriate."

St. Thomas University says it's still developing the methods of how its mandatory vaccine policy will be carried out on campus. The university says the plan will soon be communicated directly to students, faculty, and staff.

"The numbers of COVID-19 cases in the province are expected to increase and the potential impact of cases in other parts of the country are factors that have influenced that decision," said Dawn Russell, STU's president and vice-chancellor, in a written statement.

Before Thursday, Maritime post-secondary institutions had largely resisted mandatory vaccine policies, choosing to encourage rather than enforce.

Other Maritime post-secondary institutions have made mandatory vaccination orders for certain segments of their campus population.

Cape Breton University in Sydney is making vaccinations a requirement for students living in residence.

Holland College in Charlottetown will enforce mandatory vaccinations for all of its coaches and student athletes. Holland College president Alexander (Sandy) MacDonald says the discussion on vaccinations is changing every day, adding the mandatory measures could be expanded.

"We've been setting policies on a Monday and revising them on a Friday," he says. “There could be unforeseen developments that happen tomorrow, the next day, next week that cause us to change our position." Top Stories

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