Students, faculty, staff and visitors at Simon Fraser University who aren’t vaccinated or choose not to disclose their vaccination status may soon be subject to “regular rapid COVID-19 testing,” according to the university’s president.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Advanced Education Minister Anne Kang announced Tuesday that post-secondary students would be returning to in-person classes this fall with a new mask order and proof-of-vaccination requirements for some settings.
That same day, SFU president Joy Johnson announced the new BC Vaccine Card will be used at SFU to prove vaccination starting Sept. 13.
On Thursday, she announced the university is working to implement mandatory self-disclosure of vaccination status for anyone accessing SFU’s campuses as a way to make sure vaccination requirements are met for certain on-campus activities, including living in student housing, playing sports and eating at campus restaurants.
“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,” Johnson wrote.
She said she was in “active conversations” with SFU's partner groups to ensure access to resources to implement the new approach, including rapid testing kits and a process and platform to manage people’s confidential vaccination-status data.
“We are also having conversations with our faculty and staff associations and unions, as well as our student societies,” Johnson wrote.
The university will launch an anonymous survey in the coming days in an attempt to gauge the university’s current rate of vaccination and help anticipate its rapid-testing requirements, according to the president's latest message.
SFU is one of four major post-secondary institutions across the province saying it will ask students, staff and visitors to disclose their COVID-19 vaccination status as part of a back-to-school safety plan.
Others include the University of British Columbia, University of Victoria (UVic) and Thompson Rivers University (TRU) in Kamloops.
SFU, UVic and TRU all said anyone declining to get vaccinated will have to undergo mandatory and regular rapid testing. But in a letter posted online by UBC president Santo J. Ono, B.C.’s largest university said it’s still “working toward offering rapid testing” to the unvaccinated or those who choose not to disclose their vaccination status.