OTTERBURNE, MB – As Providence continues to monitor COVID-19 developments, such as the concerns around the increasing number of cases of unvaccinated people contracting the Delta variant, we have found it necessary to revise our policy.
Effective for the 2021-22 academic year, Providence will require full vaccination and/or proof of negative testing at reasonable and appropriate intervals for all staff, faculty, and students who are engaging regularly with the campus community. This requirement will take effect at some point later this fall so as to give our people adequate time to respond. A specific timeframe is still to be determined. We will provide additional information to our Providence community in the coming days, including details about requests for medical exemptions.
“Although in some ways this decision is regrettable, it is an unavoidable one,” says Providence’s President, Dr. Kenton C. Anderson. “Our primary concern is the health and safety of our community. Due to the increased threat of the Delta variant, we need to protect ourselves against any potential outbreaks of COVID-19 across our campus, and any legal ramifications we’d face as an institution if we fail to take the necessary precautions now.”
President Anderson went on to say that he can appreciate the disruption that a change to our current policy may cause to some members of our community. Although he is sympathetic to the situation, he feels Providence has little choice but to go in this direction. A finalized decision will be made official by the Board of Governors.
Providence has also considered what other post-secondary institutions are doing in response to the ongoing pandemic. As many of you may be aware, similar vaccine requirements are being announced and implemented at many other institutions in Manitoba and across Canada.
Provost pro tem, Dr. Nicholas Greco confirmed that, in addition to the measures described above, Providence is following and exceeding provincial public health guidelines for the safe reopening of our academic programs. Over the past several months, careful plans have been made for in person classes, implementing strict mask guidelines, physical distancing protocols, and classroom capacity limits. Pop-up, mobile clinics will also be available on campus for students who have not yet had the opportunity to be vaccinated.
“We believe that education should be as accessible as possible to the widest audience possible,” Dr. Nicholas Greco further explained. “However, we also believe that vaccination will be the quickest way out of this pandemic. We believe that being fully vaccinated is showing love to our neighbours.”
“We recognize that some of our students and friends will struggle with this decision. We appreciate this struggle. We continue to pray and act for the health, wellness and safety of each member of our community.”
For more detailed information on our COVID-19 policies, click here.