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A message from the CMU president regarding fall 2021 vaccine requirements

A message from the CMU president regarding fall 2021 vaccine requirements

Canadian Mennonite University is committed to honouring the health, safety, and well-being of the community as a whole. Our collective health is reliant on shared habits and responsibilities of students, staff, and faculty in this time of COVID-19 and always. As we move into the 2021/22 school year the ongoing health risks of COVID-19 remain highly concerning, even with exemplary vaccination rates in Manitoba. Thus, all CMU students, staff, and faculty are required to be vaccinated for COVID-19 in accordance with the schedule listed below. We make this announcement with recognition that many members of the CMU community already have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

In keeping with the overwhelming consensus of scientific and health authorities globally, CMU views vaccination as a safe and necessary way to stop the transmission of COVID-19 and to protect the health of the population globally. As such, CMU sees vaccination as a social responsibility and an expression of care for others in our community and far beyond our setting. In asking its students, staff, and faculty to be vaccinated, the CMU community will do its part towards ending the run of this virus.

All students, staff, and faculty who will be on campus this fall will be required to attest to their COVID-19 vaccination status prior to September 1 and also may be required to show proof of vaccination status. Dates for vaccination requirements are as follows: August 31, 2021 (1st dose) and September 30, 2021 (2nd dose). CMU will consider requests for exemption in a manner consistent with the Human Rights Code of Manitoba. Additional information will be communicated to students directly.

In late spring, in keeping with what were then consistent legal opinions in Canada, CMU indicated that vaccines would not be required for 2021/22. However, significant new understandings of the legal context have emerged since that time and many universities across Canada now are requiring vaccination in efforts to keep university communities safe and to contribute to the restoration of health locally and globally. Within this changing context, CMU staff and faculty gathered and decided to require vaccination against COVID-19 for students, employees, and volunteers.

The CMU campus will remain largely closed to guests for the fall 2021 term except by invitation. CommonWord and folio café in Marpeck Commons will be open to the public throughout the fall, with unmasking permitted only once seated in folio café.

CMU will assist with access to vaccination for those who are unable to receive vaccination prior to arriving at CMU in September. Further, masking protocols will remain in place as the term begins and will be re-evaluated on a monthly basis. In addition, CMU asks that students, staff, and faculty continue to stay home when feeling unwell, wash or sanitize your hands when entering a building or classroom, and physically distance when possible. The university will continue to monitor developments in the trajectory of COVID-19 and amend policies and protocols to protect the CMU community.

Throughout 2020/21 the shared commitment of CMU students, staff, and faculty in following protocols to keep one another safe was stellar. As we move into 2021/22 I find it helpful to think about "returning to community" rather than "getting back to normal." Our collective lives have experienced a major shock through many changes to how we live. It's now tough to shift our thinking from, "We need to stay apart," to "It's safe to be together." As we learn to trust what is good in being together again, we have opportunity to return to some former ways of being and to change others. I look forward to returning to community with the voice of each student, staff, and faculty member in the mix of learning together and in fostering the safety, health, and well-being of all.

Peace and joy,

Cheryl

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Cheryl Pauls, Dr.
President

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