COVID-19 vaccines required for U of G varsity athletes

The University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario is shown on Friday March 24, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Hannah Yoon

Varsity athletes attending the University of Guelph will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 for the upcoming season.

Last month, the U of G joined several other local universities requiring vaccinations for anyone living in residence buildings.

A news release posted on the university's website said officials are considering extending vaccination requirements, especially in courses and programs involving close contact like performing arts.

“We believe this is an important and necessary step to helping ensure health and safety as we continue to plan for a greater return to in-person courses and extracurricular activities in the fall,” said Dr. Gwen Chapman, provost and vice-president (academic), in the release.

Varsity sports were suspended in Ontario due to high risk of transmission during the pandemic.

Scott McRoberts, director of U of G’s Department of Athletics, said most varsity athletes are already fully vaccinated.

“We are now formalizing our vaccination confirmation process, which will help ensure that we are doing everything we can to facilitate a safe return of varsity sports in the fall semester," he said.

Athletes will need to provide confirmation of their vaccination status by Sept. 30. The Department of Athletics said it will perform rapid COVID-19 tests between mid-August and Sept. 30 for all teams holding practices. Tests will be available after Sept. 30 for athletes who were granted exemption from vaccination requirements.