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Message from OCAD U President: Update on fall plans and vaccination requirements

Male student with mask working in a shop studio

A message from OCAD University President Ana Serrano sent to students, faculty and staff  on August 12, 2021.

I am writing to give you an update about our plans for this fall and want to reassure you that OCAD University has been working diligently across departments to get ready to welcome you all on campus.  

As I have said on many occasions, and I want to emphasize this again, the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff, and the broader community, continues to be a priority for us as we move forward with our plans to open our campus. We all have a role to play in ensuring the health and wellness of each other; it really is a shared responsibility. 

To this end, students, faculty and staff will be required to self-declare their vaccination status before they can participate in any activity on our campus.  

We will also have a process for exemptions based on human rights or medical grounds, and will introduce a rapid screening program for those individuals who cannot be vaccinated and must attend campus.  

We continue to work with the University of Toronto to make access to vaccinations as easy as possible to members of our community.

In short, when you come to campus this fall, those around you will have attested that they are either fully (or on the path to becoming fully) vaccinated or they are participating in the weekly rapid screening program.  

We believe these measures will provide an extra layer of safety and comfort for all. It’s important to note that our recent student survey indicated over 90% of our students are partially or fully vaccinated or have a plan to get vaccinated. Another 2% of our students wish to be vaccinated, but cannot easily access vaccines where they are, and intend to get vaccinated when they arrive in Canada for their studies. 

As well, OCAD U will continue to implement its wellness protocols, outlined in our Return to Campus Plan, which include wearing masks indoors, maintaining physical distancing, enhanced cleaning, and optimizing the ventilation of buildings.  

In the coming days, our Fall Experience Working Group, led by Vice-Provost, Students & International, Deanne Fisher, will provide additional details about this new requirement as well as key information to help faculty in preparing for in-person activities, and for students, in scheduling access to studios and facilities in relation to their courses. 

I’d like to thank all those who have been working hard on our fall opening plans. I’d also like to thank everyone who has reached out to us with requests and suggestions. 

All the actions we have taken thus far, including today’s announcement, are the result of your efforts in letting us know how to make you feel safe, and the collaborative discussions across the University and consultations with many groups, including our post-secondary community colleagues, our employee organizations, and student union.  

As our public health situation evolves throughout the fall and winter, know that we are ready to adapt and expand upon our safety and wellness protocols, as needed, so we can ensure the health and safety of all the members of our community. 

I continue to be astounded by the OCAD University community’s compassion, resilience, fortitude and commitment to each other. I truly cannot wait to be able to see more of you in person very soon. 

Stay safe and take care. 

Ana Serrano
President and Vice-Chancellor
OCAD University