York, along with many other Ontario universities, has been looking forward to welcoming all students back to its campuses. Starting next semester, Ontario schools will mostly be operating at full capacity. With that, however, schools have also been keeping an eye out for students’ vaccination statuses.
Most recently, York sent out an email reminding students, domestic and international, that they must disclose their vaccination statuses no later than Monday, November 8.
While the York community looks forward to progressing to a familiar state of normalcy, the school has taken a stern approach to returning to campus. Students who choose not to disclose their vaccination status risk not only being unable to access campus, but also “risk de-enrolment from in-person courses.”
When vaccination mandates were originally announced earlier this year in August, a York student created a petition to disallow York’s mandatory vaccination policy. However, as of November 8, it has only gained 1,110 signatures. With a population of approximately 55,700 students and 7,000 faculty and staff, 49,913 members of the York community have now disclosed their vaccination status according to Advisor and Deputy Spokesperson of York, Yanni Dagonas.
Dagonas clarifies York’s position saying that “every decision made by the university aligns with public health guidelines and the latest guidance from the provincial government.” Dagonas emphasizes that “the university is striving to maintain a safe and healthy environment for the current fall term and as we plan a full return to campus in the 2022 winter term.”
Fourth-year psychology student Ayesha Naeem says that while she is supportive of York’s vaccination mandates, “de-enrolment is a very harsh response, but risking thousands of people (staff and students) on campus is something we should aim to avoid.”
When asked if it could affect future students who wish to enrol at York, Naeem says, “it is a crucial measure to promote vaccination especially during an ongoing pandemic. Since I live in residence, I would feel much safer if I knew that only vaccinated people were allowed on campus and in residence.”
Dagonas also gives insight for those who reside in a country other than Canada, where they do not have access to a vaccine and are seeking access to campus for the winter term. “Any individual who cannot be vaccinated based on medical or other reasons recognized by the Ontario Human Rights Code may request an exemption from this requirement. Generally speaking, there are very few acceptable medical exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccination. Individuals seeking a medical exemption must complete an exemption request form found on York’s Better Together website. This requires a declaration from a physician or nurse practitioner. Trained staff review the exemption request and determine whether a request is approved.”
Final course delivery details will be available on the York University Courses website during the week of November 15, 2021.