More than 76,000 University of Toronto community members have declared their vaccination status using the university’s online portal, with 99 per cent of them indicating they have received a vaccination against COVID-19.
Furthermore, 94 per cent of that group have provided proof via U of T’s UCheck portal that they are fully vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine as of Sept. 27, while five per cent have at least one shot and are on their way to being fully immunized.
The data, shared in a memo on Oct. 1, indicates U of T community members are doing their part to heed the university’s requirement that students, staff, faculty and librarians who are coming to campus show evidence that they’ve received a first dose of an approved vaccine by Sept. 13 and a second dose by Oct. 15.
“We are extremely proud of the months of tireless work and collective effort to establish a safe environment for tens of thousands of students, faculty, librarians and staff,” said Kelly Hannah-Moffat, U of T’s vice-president, people strategy, equity and culture.
“Getting our students safely to in-person learning is our priority.”
U of T’s vaccination requirement is a key element of its comprehensive 12-step plan for a safe return to campus this fall alongside mask-wearing, improvements to ventilation systems and other measures.
Proof-of-vaccination receipts uploaded to UCheck are in the process of being authenticated, the memo said. The work is expected to be completed soon.
There have been no reported COVID-19 outbreaks at the university since it introduced the Joint Provostial and Human Resources Guideline on Vaccination this fall – in part due to an “extremely high” vaccination rate, according to the memo.
“It is clear that vaccination is critically important,” said Trevor Young, who is U of T’s acting vice-president and provost while on a leave as dean of the Temerty Faculty of Medicine.
“Those who are fully vaccinated are much less likely to become ill with or to transmit the COVID-19 virus. The high rates of vaccination in our community and other measures such as wearing masks significantly increase the safety of our campus as we gather together in person.”
All exemptions to the vaccine requirement have been closely reviewed to ensure they align with guidance from the province’s Ministry of Health and the Ontario Human Rights Commission. To date, only 22 people across U of T’s three campuses – or 0.03 per cent of the 76,000 who registered with UCheck – have received approved exemptions, which require them to undergo additional health measures such as regular rapid screening before coming to campus.
When on campus, students, faculty, librarians and staff may be asked to prove they are fully vaccinated by showing their UCheck green screen in certain areas, including libraries and athletic facilities. Instructors may also ask all their students to show their green screen at the start of class.
Professor Salvatore Spadafora, special adviser to U of T’s president on COVID-19 and senior adviser to the dean of the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, said he is delighted members of the U of T community are making every effort to keep one another safe.
“We are very grateful that we have a highly vaccinated community that is complying with other prescribed public health requirements,” he said. “It’s thanks to these efforts that we have been able to see each other again on campus – in libraries, gyms, classrooms and labs.”
He urged community members to continue to respect health guidelines, to monitor their symptoms, even if they are fully vaccinated – and to stay home if they are sick.
“While rare among fully vaccinated people, break-through infections do occur,” he said. “Even mild symptoms – say, a sore throat, stuffy nose or headache – could be a sign of COVID-19.
“We encourage people to stay home if they are feeling unwell and to seek medical advice and testing. Just like at the start of this pandemic: We’re in this together.”