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4 B.C. universities to require rapid COVID-19 tests for unvaccinated students, staff

UBC, SFU, UVic and TRU will be asking students to declare their vaccination status confidentially
An Abbott Laboratories Panbio COVID- 19 Rapid Test device is displayed at a pop-up COVID-19 testing site on the Dalhousie University campus in Halifax on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Four major universities say that students who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be subject to daily rapid testing before entering onto campus.

Simon Fraser University, University of British Columbia and University of Victoria and Thompson Rivers University announced Thursday that officials had approved a joint plan ahead of the upcoming semester.

Students will be asked to confidentially share their immunization status with the respective university.

“This would be a confidential process, accompanied by regular rapid testing for those who are not vaccinated or choose not to disclose their vaccination status,” SFU president Joy Johnson said in a statement.

“I am part of active conversations with our partners to ensure access to the resources we need to implement this approach, including rapid testing kits. We are working to determine a process and platform to manage this confidential data.”

ALSO WATCH: B.C. brings back mask mandate for all indoor public spaces

UBC president Santa Ono said that a survey of students earlier this month showed that 83 per cent had received both doses against COVID-19, with many planning to get innoculated before September’s start of classes.

The plan’s unveiling comes as B.C. officials navigate what some are calling the fourth wave of the pandemic, largely fueled by the highly-transmissible delta variant paired with roughly 24 per cent of eligible British Columbians who remain unvaccinated.

Alongside the soon-t0-be launched vaccine certificate protocols in the province, as well as current mandatory indoor masking, UVic president Kevin Hall said “we believe this program will give students, staff and faculty the confidence needed for a full return to in-person campus activities.”


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About the Author: Ashley Wadhwani-Smith

I began my journalistic journey at Black Press Media as a community reporter in my hometown of Maple Ridge, B.C.
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