Post-secondary institutions have transitioned to online learning since the pandemic was declared. This decision was made as colleges and universities could be at risk of becoming hotspots for the virus, having thousands of people together and close-knit dwelling areas.
Things are slowly going back to normal and KPU is offering some in-person classes this coming fall semester. One of the ways that we can feel safe while on campus is getting vaccinated.
The world is in its second year of having COVID-19 around. Now that we have enough knowledge about the virus and have produced vaccines to protect ourselves, we should take the opportunity to get our two doses, especially if that means we can go back to school safely.
Research shows that the university age demographic of 18 to 29-year-olds falls far behind in getting two doses of the vaccine. It poses a possible complication with back-to-school plans since young adults are “the most social” and “the most able to propagate the virus back to the communities,” said Dr. Kieran Moore, the new medical chief in Ontario.
Different institutions in the United States are mandating that students get vaccinated to be able to go on campus in September, but post-secondary institutions are not doing the same in Canada. The government urges people to get vaccinated, but it is in their own free will to say no.
Only Seneca College in Toronto is brave enough to require full vaccinations for every student who wishes to attend in-person classes. They want to ensure the health and safety of the community, and isn’t that what we want?
Being confined in a room full of people for three hours in one class and going to several classes a few times a day puts us in a tight spot.
If we are to require vaccinations in every institution in exchange for campus learning, this will protect not only the safety of the students, faculty, and staff, but also the families we all go home to.
We do not have an assurance that everyone we come across is vaccinated, and face masks won’t protect us forever. It won’t be long before COVID-19 cases rise again, with the hyper-contagious Delta variant emerging in all parts of the world. This is the right time to implement concrete policies to contain the virus as low as it is now and not wait for another surge before making a move.
I understand the importance of one’s autonomy and free will in decision-making, but we should also keep in mind the responsibility we have to look after one another. Some people are just more vulnerable than others, and everyone having an extra layer of protection will ease this risk.
Enough of complacency, our government and academic institutions should be more assertive in their health policies for their people’s protection.
If we want to connect with our community and experience university life in-person as it should be, we should live outside the four corners of our computer screens, and getting vaccinated is the safest way to do that.