National Newswatch

TORONTO — Students and staff planning to live in University of Toronto residences will need to have two shots of a COVID-19 vaccine and at least one booster dose before moving in this September.

In a memo issued Thursday, the school said it recently reinstated the vaccination requirement for those living in its residences and recommended all others on campus stay "up-to-date" on COVID-19 vaccinations and upload their records.

"The University of Toronto continues to monitor Toronto, Peel, and provincial public health guidance as we experience a new wave of COVID-19 infections," vice-president and provosts Cheryl Regehr and Kelly Hannah-Moffat wrote.

Federal government data shows young adults lag other age groups in getting boosted. About 36 per cent of people between 18 and 29 have received a third dose, compared to the 86 per cent in that age group who have completed the two-dose series.

At both the federal and provincial levels, being fully vaccinated is defined by having received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine. But in recent months, Ottawa and Ontario have moved away from encouraging people to be "fully vaccinated" and instead toward advising the public to stay "up-to-date" on their COVID-19 vaccinations – meaning they get all recommended doses when eligible.

Ontario has recommended third doses to all residents aged 12 and older. It opened up fourth doses to adults of all ages earlier this month, but the province's top doctor said young residents who don't have underlying health conditions can choose to wait until the fall for a second booster, when a vaccine specifically targeting the Omicron variant may become available.

U of T stopped requiring proof of vaccination for those attending classes in-person on May 1 and also gradually lifted its mask mandate in its indoor spaces.

The university still encourages people to wear medical masks in high-density indoor spaces when physical distancing is not possible. 

York University recommended this week that students and staff keep their vaccination status "up-to-date" and wear a face mask indoors, especially where physical distancing is not possible.

The school dropped vaccine and mask mandates earlier this year. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 29, 2022.

Maan Alhmidi, The Canadian Press

The Canadian Press
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