Some students at Queen’s University are concerned about the university’s vaccination policy and have launched a petition asking Queen’s to require vaccinations for on-campus staff and students, and rapid testing for those who cannot, or will not, be vaccinated.
The lack of requirement to disclose vaccination status has left Queen’s students concerned with how their health and lives will be affected by attending in-person classes and living in residence with unvaccinated students and staff, according to the petition.
“I am glad to see that the school has said that 99 per cent of students in residence say they are going to be or are already fully vaccinated. However, residence this year will be occupied by about 4000 students, which leaves roughly 22,000 other students attending the University this fall whose vaccination status is unknown and is not being requested,” said Amanda Preston-Walker, the Queen’s student who started the petition.
Preston-Walker shared her concern that students whose vaccination status is unknown would be a possible risk to Queen’s and Kingston communities as they interact in the community. The petition has over 1,000 signatures at the time of publication, which is enough to have it sent to Principal Patrick Deane and other higher officials in the University.
“I have had people argue against my petition, but my petition is an earnest effort backed by science, so I believe it stands on its own merits,” Preston-Walker said.
Queen’s University has introduced their new residence vaccination policy, which requires students who will be living in residence to disclose their current vaccination status within a maximum of two days before their move-in date or submit an attestation as to why they are not being vaccinated. The most recent data at Queen’s indicate that over 98% of students living in residence have completed their disclosure form, with 99% showing they are, or plan to be, vaccinated before arriving on campus in September.
“Queen’s takes the health and safety of its students, staff, and faculty very seriously, and protecting the health and safety of the campus and Kingston communities remains a key priority for us. We have worked closely with KFL&A Public Health to develop our Campus Re-opening Framework to ensure it is safe and effective,” said Teri Shearer, Deputy Provost, Academic Operations and Inclusion.
In the event of an outbreak, unvaccinated students can expect to comply with health and safety measures as required by Public Health, which could include moving to an isolation space.
“To support access to vaccines, plans are underway to host on-campus vaccination clinics including a drive-through clinic during move-in, for any students who need their first or second dose, including international students,” said Shearer.