The following message was shared with the Conestoga community on behalf of President John Tibbits on June 30, 2022.
I’d like to take this opportunity to extend thanks to all Conestoga students and employees for your support in keeping our college community safe. Over the last two years, the measures enacted to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on our campuses - including requirements for proof of vaccination, face coverings for all on-campus activities, and other infection prevention and control measures - have played an important role in protecting the health and safety of our entire community.
In recent weeks, requirements for vaccines and masking have been relaxed in many public settings across the province, including post-secondary institutions. This decision is attributed to a number of positive indicators, including reduced case counts, test positivity rates, and hospitalizations related to COVID-19.
Conestoga continues to believe that vaccines and masking are important safeguards in our efforts to protect the health and safety of our college community. However, the landscape has changed somewhat as government and public health policy directions have evolved away from mandatory compliance with such measures.
As a result, Conestoga will pause proof of vaccine and masking requirements at all campus locations effective July 1, 2022. We will continue to make masks available at no charge and strongly encourage you to consider wearing a tight-fitting, well-constructed mask in situations such as large gatherings where physical distancing is not possible. We also ask that you respect the choices of others, including those who may choose to continue wearing masks.
Vaccination remains the best defence against the most serious consequences of COVID-19 infection. Although you will no longer be required to provide proof of vaccination to participate in on-campus activities, we strongly encourage you to get all the vaccine doses you are eligible for. Vaccine clinics will continue to operate on-campus for your convenience.
The pandemic is not over: the evolution of the virus is difficult to predict, and most experts believe that we will experience additional waves of the disease in the future. As a result, we must remain vigilant and recognize the role each of us plays not only in protecting our own health and well-being, but also in creating a safe environment for those who are most vulnerable.
We will continue to monitor conditions and consult with public health advisors. It may be necessary to bring back masking or vaccine requirements on short notice should the current situation change. We will share updates directly with the college community and provide information and educational resources through the COVID-19 Information hub on the Conestoga website.
Please note that the pause in Conestoga’s vaccination and masking requirements relates only to accessing our own campus buildings and facilities. Students in some of our programs may be required to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to participate in work-integrated learning activities such as placements or co-op work terms based on the policies and guidelines in place at their work sites. More information will be provided to those students through their program areas.
All Conestoga community members are reminded to continue to self-monitor and refrain from attending campus if you are feeling unwell. Ontario’s COVID-19 Self-Assessment tool can provide advice if you are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19.
We all have a role to play in keeping our community safe. Thank you for your ongoing support.
Stay safe and healthy, and have a great summer.
John Tibbits, President