U of G Lifting COVID-19 Mandates on May 1

As of yesterday, Monday, masks are an option in most public indoor settings in Ontario. Unless you’re in a healthcare setting, long-term care home, or transit vehicle, you have the option of no longer having a face covering. In Guelph though, there is still one place where you have to wear a mask indoors, and before even getting insider, you still have to prove your vaccination status. Soon, even that will change.

The University of Guelph posted on their website today that starting on May 1, the first day of the spring semester, you will no longer have to wear your mask indoors on campus, or prove your vaccination status.

“Students will be eligible for in-person learning regardless of their vaccination status. Employees on unpaid leave should speak with their supervisor about their individual situation. Those with vaccination policy exemptions will no longer be required to participate in rapid testing,” said the webpost from President and Vice-Chancellor Charlotte Yates and Provost and Vice-President (Academic) Gwen Chapman.

The U of G was one of a number of post-secondary institutions around Ontario to continue with COVID-19 precautions like proof of vaccination and masking, even after the announcement that the Government of Ontario would be repealing the vaccine mandate in February. It was around that time that institutions like the U of G had returned to in-person classes for the first time since the end of the fall semester in December.

With the change in mandate on May 1, the U of G says that they’re still going to encourage people to where their masks indoors, especially in spaces with limited room to physical distance like elevators and smaller rooms. “As a community, let’s be supportive of each other’s decisions and remember that each person’s situation is unique,” said the statement.

The administration also warns that the end of this mandate does not mean that the mandates can’t come back.

“Please be aware that with the evolving nature of the pandemic, we may see the return of these public health measures at some point and with little advance notice,” the statement added. “We strongly encourage all students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated and to keep up with their booster doses. Staying up to date with your vaccinations not only provides you with the best protection against serious effects of COVID-19 but also keeps our community prepared if public health measures are reinstated as a requirement for campus access, including in-person learning.”

*UPDATE, April 15 – The University of Guelph has decided to keep mask mandates in place for the time being.

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