McMaster in Hamilton, Brock in St. Catharines differ in vaccination requirement for students in residence

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The Hamilton university said on Wednesday (July 21) that it has decided to join the list of Ontario post-secondary institutions who are making a stipulation, with the intent of reducing the possibility of community spread as universities and colleges return to more in-person living. McMaster resident students will be required to have two doses of vaccine and be fully vaccinated with a Health Canada-recognized COVID-19 vaccines within 14 days of moving into residence, with at least one shot before their move-in date.

In a media release, the university says it is contacting residence students directly about vaccination requirements and exceptions for religious or health reasons. Recently, McMaster said the residences would only be occupied to 93 per cent capacity and rooms will be set aside for any students who need to self-isolate.

"A survey of incoming residence students found that 97 per cent said they planned to be vaccinated before the beginning of (fall) term,” Sean Van Koughnett, McMaster’s associate vice-president and dean of students, said in a statement. “This is an outstanding response and requiring vaccinations aligns well with what our students are telling us."

McMaster says it will team up with Hamilton Public Health Services to assist students who need help obtaining a second dose, and will help international students receive a dose that is approved in Canada.

Down the road in St. Catharines, Brock University says it will not require vaccinations for students, staff and faculty members who will be on campus in the fall. Brock, however, says “some student populations, such as those living in residence, may be asked to disclose their vaccination status.” It plans on having 75 per cent occupancy in the residences.

"While Brock will not require vaccinations for those returning to campus or living in residence this fall, we do strongly encourage anyone who is able to get vaccinated to do so before arriving on campus in September," reads a statement from Brock interim president Lynn Wells. "A safe return to on-campus instruction and activity relies on a high rate of vaccination among all members of the community."

Like McMaster, Brock also says it will set aside space for students who need to self-isolate.