University of Alberta’s COVID-19 vaccination plan relies on honour system with random checks

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The University of Alberta says it will rely on the honour system with random checks to make sure its more than 50,000 staff and students are either vaccinated or don’t have COVID-19.

Earlier this month, the institution announced it would alter its back-to-class plan and require masks on-campus. It also indicated students and staff would either have to prove they had been vaccinated or take a regular rapid COVID test.

Universities of Alberta, Calgary and Lethbridge update COVID-19 policies – Aug 17, 2021 On Wednesday, the U of A revealed more details on how the plan will work.

Emails are going out to everybody who regularly attends any of the university’s campuses. Students and staff will have to indicate if they’ve been vaccinated.

Some of those who say they have received their shots will be required to provide proof. Those who say they are unvaccinated will need to take weekly, self-administered rapid COVID-19 tests, which are provided free of charge to the university through Alberta Health’s rapid testing program.

Kevin Friese is the U of A’s assistant dean of students and heads the COVID response team.

“Students, faculty and staff will not be required to show proof of vaccination upon entering places like classrooms, labs and work spaces.”

However, Friese says if the university asks for proof and the employee or students cannot provide it, there could be consequences.

“Similar to other U of A policies, any student, faculty, or staff member who does not comply with the university’s policies and procedures – and who does not qualify for an accommodation on medical or other protected grounds – will be subject to disciplinary action based on our code of student behavior and employment agreements.”

The university’s initial back-to-school plan did not require masks, testing or vaccinations. Students and staff at the time said they were upset and many felt they could be unsafe in class, particularly with the Delta variant’s rapid spread.

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