U of T has announced that it will require students, staff, faculty, and librarians who participate in activities where they are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 to be vaccinated. It will also expect all community members to self-declare their vaccination status, and if they are not fully vaccinated, they will be expected to take screening tests twice a week.
The decision comes after U of T consulted with both Toronto Public Health and Peel Public Health, and after the Ontario government decided not to mandate any vaccinations, including for health workers.
Sports, music instruction, and educational placements are among the activities that the university will consider high risk. It will also consider designating other activities as such based on the requests of academics and administrators in the U of T community.
Individuals participating in high risk activities will be expected to provide documentation of full vaccination. The university will also support community members in the process of getting vaccinated, and it will grant exemptions based on medical needs or religious and personal beliefs.
Members of the U of T community will be asked to self-declare their vaccination status through the UCheck platform and the anonymous data received will shape U of T’s public health strategy. Community members will be considered fully vaccinated if it has been more than 14 days since their second dose.
Members that respond “no” or “prefer not to say” will be provided with information on vaccination and booking appointments, as well as a rapid screening test. They will need to fill out the test twice a week and receive a negative result within 72 hours of coming onto campus.
If a member receives a positive result, they will have to report it to the university’s occupational health nurse, follow up with a formal COVID-19 test, and self-isolate for the recommended amount of time.
Salvatore Spadafora, professor at the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine and special advisor to President Meric Gertler on COVID-19, told U of T News that while the university is optimistic about its community’s vaccination rates this coming fall, the university will adjust and take further steps towards vaccinating the community if the rates are not what it expects.
Editor’s note (July 30): This article has been updated to clarify the process for self-declaring vaccination status and to explain who qualifies for exemptions to the new vaccination requirements.