Booster shots are essential – as is an in-person summons – The Varsity

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When U of T announced plans to resume in-person activities in February, many students and campus groups raised concerns about inadequate security and accommodations. However, there is one important point that has received little attention so far: the need for booster shots to return to campus.

The university was rightly requiring all members of the community to receive two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by October 15 to be on campus. They are now encouraging everyone to get their booster injections and upload their documentation to UCheck. However, the university should go further and require everyone to receive a booster dose before resuming in-person activities in February – unless they can prove they recently had COVID-19, to which cases the National Advisory Committee on Immunization has advised that they wait three months before receiving the vaccine.

Some students have already expressed concern on the need for booster injections for a return to campus. Yet the latest data from Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table shows that only 30 per cent of people aged 18 to 29 have received their boosters. Anyone over the age of 18 is now eligible for their booster 84 days after receiving their second dose. It’s been well over 84 days since October 15 – the date everyone in the U of T community was due to receive two doses – so anyone 18 or older at the U of T should be eligible. for his recall.

The two main opposition political parties in Ontario — the New Democratic Party and the Liberal Party — have called on the provincial government to require a third dose for people to be considered fully immunized by the OHIM vaccination certificate system. Ontario. The UA of T spokesperson explained in an email that the university “currently continues to follow the advice of public health officials on the definition of fully vaccinated.”

The University of Toronto does not need to wait, especially for guidance from a government that has a track record of implementing delayed and inadequate measures throughout the pandemic. The science is clear on the enhanced protection a third dose offers against infection. Mandating a third dose before returning to campus will improve everyone’s safety.

Despite the need for reminders to return to campus, some students, faculty and staff still face barriers to getting vaccinated. The University of Toronto should do everything in its power to make snaps accessible to its community. Immunization clinics at the testing center — which are open to the general public — and Discovery Pharmacy — which are open exclusively to the U of T community — have reopened at UTSG. However, there are no on-campus clinics at UTM or UTSC, although both campuses had such clinics open in the spring of 2021. The university should – alongside its health care partners community health – reopening all tri-campus clinics and reserving blocks of scheduled or walk-in appointments for university members who still need reminders.

Two years into the pandemic, students are frustrated, both by the length of time COVID-19 has disrupted our lives and by the inability of governments and institutions to adapt and successfully meet the challenges. challenges of the pandemic. For many students, including me, half of our university years have been affected by COVID-19.

As graduation approaches next June, many students are wondering how we would celebrate the end of our unique and challenging academic journey. After four successive online ceremonies since June 2020, the university will decide on the format of the June convocation next March.

Unless there is a catastrophic epidemiological situation, the June 2022 convocation must be held in person. Many students are exhausted and demoralized after two years with no clear end to the pandemic in sight. Fall 2021 was a well-deserved respite, where many of the pre-pandemic joys — such as in-person classes and social events and interactions on campus — finally returned for a time before another round of closures. An in-person summons would be another crucial light at the end of the tunnel.

Holding another virtual convocation is the easiest way to avoid all possible risks of a large gathering. However, after two years, the onus is on policy makers to have figured out how to mitigate the risks of such events as much as possible without resorting to virtual alternatives. Graduation is a once-in-a-lifetime moment, as important as a wedding or the birth of a child. It deserves to be marked by more than just a pre-recorded video where you might miss your name on a rolling credits screen if you blink or use the bathroom.

Ideally, ceremonies should take place at Convocation Hall. Hope the prosecution Construction of the front campus would not prevent the university from using the building. A pandemic taking away this experience may be understandable, but such a construction would be unacceptable.

Every class of graduating students from a college, faculty or campus should be able to celebrate with their loved ones. However, if the pandemic makes this impractical, then at the very least, students should still have the opportunity to mark the occasion with each other. If having the entire graduating class in one venue is too risky, there could be many smaller ceremonies held on U of T campuses instead. More intimate ceremonies involving smaller groups of peers, in buildings to which students have been more closely connected during their time at U of T, could create more heartfelt memories.

Whatever the solution for a safe in-person summons, the U of T should strive to implement it. The pandemic has defined our college experience and our coming-of-age years. It took us a lot – but let’s not let it take away the last and greatest moment of this chapter of our lives.

Oliver Zhao is a fourth-year criminology and international relations student at Woodsworth College. He is the current Secretary of the Student Association of Woodsworth College.

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