With the health of our communities, and a safe student experience as top priorities, Trent University has announced students living on campus in residence this fall will be required to have at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
“The University is committed to keeping our residences and communities safe as we plan to return to in person terms this September,” says Dr. Leo Groarke, president and vice-chancellor of Trent. “Requiring vaccines for students living in residence will be an important way to ensure that we avoid residence outbreaks and are able to offer our residence students the transformative on-campus experiences students have learned to expect from Trent.”
In a move supported by Peterborough Public Health, the University will ask students to book and arrange their first-dose vaccine prior to moving into residences at both the Peterborough and Durham GTA campuses. The University’s Housing Services will help students who are unable to receive a vaccine prior to arrival attain their first dose when they move into residence. Residence students will also be asked to commit to a second dose of the vaccine on a schedule that will be subject to availability. Exemptions will be allowed in cases in which students require accommodation for medical or other reasons.
Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, medical officer of health for Peterborough Public Health, said: “Ensuring a high level of vaccine coverage is critical for curbing the pandemic and returning to our normal lives. This will be particularly important when our local post-secondary institutions return to in-person learning in the fall. As such, I support Trent University’s decision to make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for those students who choose to live at the University residences. Requiring mandatory vaccinations is not new in Ontario. Under the Immunization of School Pupils’ Act, vaccines for students have been mandatory and continue to help protect both students and staff at educational institutions. Peterborough Public Health will be happy to support Trent University as part of our shared efforts to achieve high levels of COVID-19 vaccine coverage on the campus and through-out our community. “
In a statement, the Durham Region Health Department said they “strongly support all efforts to increase the uptake of COVID-19 vaccination, particularly in congregate living settings such as postsecondary residences. We encourage everyone who is eligible to receive their COVID-19 vaccine.”
Requiring vaccines for all residence students will safely allow for near-full occupancy of residences on both Trent campuses. As an added precaution, the University also plans to reserve a small number of residence spaces for isolation, if needed.
“We know living in residence can be a valuable part of the first-year student experience at Trent,” says Dr. Nona Robinson, associate vice president of Students at the University. “We also know the health and safety of our campus and local communities is our shared responsibility. Congregate living areas, such as residences, are at higher risk for transmission, due to people living closely together. We are delighted that vaccines are now available for the age group of most of our first-year students. This vaccine requirement will help minimize risk, as we offer a positive residence experience for new students this fall.”
The vaccine requirement for residence students will be part of a wide range of the University’s COVID-19 health and safety measures to ensure a safe return to in-person learning on campus. Other measures may include masking, physical distancing requirements and mandatory self- screening, as well as enhanced cleaning. On-campus testing as well as vaccine clinics for students and employees in Peterborough may also be implemented, based on recent success of pop-up clinics.
All plans for the upcoming academic year at Trent are subject to provincial and public health requirements and guidelines. Trent is committed to following and adjusting to any guidelines that may be required, as we plan to be back to in-person learning this September. The University is also expanding its online course options from the pre-pandemic schedule, providing students with more flexibility to take some courses remotely. As more information becomes available, updates are posted to the Trent Forward website at trentu.ca/trentforward.
About Trent University
One of Canada's top universities, Trent University was founded on the ideal of interactive learning that's personal, purposeful and transformative. Consistently recognized nationally for leadership in teaching, research and student satisfaction, Trent attracts excellent students from across the country and around the world. Here, undergraduate and graduate students connect and collaborate with faculty, staff and their peers through diverse communities that span residential colleges, classrooms, disciplines, hands-on research, co-curricular and community-based activities. Across all disciplines, Trent brings critical, integrative thinking to life every day. Today, Trent's unique approach to personal development through supportive, collaborative community engagement is in more demand than ever. Students lead the way by co-creating experiences rooted in dialogue, diverse perspectives and collaboration. In a learning environment that builds life-long passion for inclusion, leadership and social change, Trent's students, alumni, faculty and staff are engaged global citizens who are catalysts in developing sustainable solutions to complex issues. Trent's Peterborough campus boasts award-winning architecture in a breathtaking natural setting on the banks of the Otonabee River, just 90 minutes from downtown Toronto, while Trent University Durham Greater Toronto Area, delivers a distinct mix of programming in the east GTA.
For more information contact:
Isabel Botha, Communications & Media Relations Officer, Trent University, (705) 748-1011 x6180 or firstname.lastname@example.org