ANTIGONISH: While it won’t be mandatory for students to have one or both of their COVID-19 vaccinations to attend StFX University in the fall; the university has begun a campaign with a drive to push vaccinations.

Both federal and provincial governments have shared encouraging news over the last number of weeks, regarding accelerated timelines for vaccine delivery and distribution; some provinces projecting most citizens could receive their two doses by the end of the summer.

In a letter to the campus community, StFX President Andy Hakin indicated the timeline for all provinces to receive their two doses remains somewhat less certain, the message shared by public health officials has been clear – the COVID-19 vaccine is our path towards a return to normalcy.

“With this in mind, StFX University is launching an awareness campaign encouraging all students and employees to get their two doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine at first opportunity,” Hakin said. “The More2gether campaign aims to amplify the message that has already been shared by public health officials in Nova Scotia: the more people in our communities who are vaccinated, the more quickly we can return to normal life with fewer restrictions.”

He explained this is especially important as the university and their students look forward to the upcoming academic year; recognizing students, faculty, and teaching staff alike are eager to safely resume many of the immersive community, teaching, and research opportunities that have been put on hold because of COVID-19.

“Although taking the COVID-19 vaccine is not mandated for employees and students returning to campus,” Hakin said. “The university is strongly recommending that all members of the StFX community follow the advice of public health officials.”

The university’s president explained he fully understands that not all their campus community may have access to vaccines, by choice or circumstance, but the university remains committed to working with the province to do everything possible to assist those who arrive to StFX with fewer than two doses.

Decisions regarding quarantine requirements and other health and safety protocols for fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated, and non-vaccinated students coming from outside of Atlantic Canada will be made by Nova Scotia Public Health officials over the coming weeks.

The university also recognizes that many of their international students will not have had access to the vaccine or may come from a region that uses a different vaccine than the ones currently approved for use in Canada.

“StFX is waiting to learn more from our national and provincial counterparts and will update international students as soon as key information is received.”

As for students who may only be partially vaccinated when they return to campus, the provincial government has signalled that they anticipate making the COVID-19 vaccine available to students from other provinces, but discussion on how, when, and where this will happen are still underway.

“We will keep the campus community updated as we learn more over the summer,” Hakin said. “I invite you to join the university on this important campaign, so we can look forward to an academic year where it is possible to do More2gether.”