Fanshawe's fall COVID plans: No masks, no vax

Exterior signage at Fanshawe College CREDIT: BEN HARRIETHA
On Aug. 16, the college announced that it would not be reintroducing mandatory masking or vaccine requirements in the fall.

Fanshawe’s fall semester is shaping up to look a lot like it did before the pandemic.

On Aug. 16, the college announced that it would not be reintroducing mandatory masking or vaccine requirements in the fall, with 65 per cent of classes to be provided in person and residences returning to nearly full capacity. All scheduled events for students and staff will go ahead as planned, including Orientation week events and varsity athletics activities. Student services, meanwhile, will be provided both on campus and virtually.

Fanshawe’s announcement stands in stark contrast to Western, which also announced it would be welcoming back students to in-person learning, but said it would be mandating COVID-19 vaccines with at least one booster for all staff, students, and faculty. Meanwhile, Western said it would also be requiring masks in instructional spaces including classrooms, labs, and seminar rooms.

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“Mitigating the risk of transmission of COVID-19 as well as of severe outcomes from the infection can be effectively achieved with a combination of masking and vaccination,” Dr. Saverio Stranges, public health physician and chair of the department of epidemiology and biostatistics within the school of Schulich Medicine & Dentistry said in a statement. “This also reduces severity of symptoms and protects those immunocompromised individuals in our community. There is no doubt that this approach will help keep people out of hospitals and preserve on-campus teaching and learning.”

While Western has been facing criticism for its decision, Fanshawe said it will continue to work with public health officials to determine if mandates need to be reintroduced at any point.

“Students and employees are strongly encouraged to mask indoors and stay up to date on recommended doses of COVID-19 vaccine,” said Peter Gilbert, chief infrastructure officer at Fanshawe in a statement.

The following COVID-19 protocols will remain in place at all Fanshawe campuses and locations:

• Overnight cleaning and disinfection;

• Ventilation will operate at 100 per cent fresh air;

• Physical barriers in academic labs, at customer service points and between sinks in washrooms;

• Flexible work options for employees;

• Passive screening signage on doors;

• Rapid tests available for both employees and students;

• Masks available for distribution. (For employees — please complete the form on the myFanshawe employee portal; students can request masks at the student services hubs at any campus)

The college has also asked that campus community members stay home if they are feeling unwell, to follow public health guidelines should they test positive for COVID- 19, and to contact their professors in regards to any missed classes.

A vaccination clinic will also be available on campus during Orientation week, on Sept. 6 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the college’s London Campus (1001 Fanshawe College Boulevard). The clinic will be open to all employees and students.