Students at Lambton College residence must get COVID-19 shots

COVID-19 signs at the entrance to Lambton College’s residence on London Road. Troy Shantz

Troy Shantz

Lambton College students who live on campus this fall must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the college has decided.

About 150 students at the London Road residence must provide proof of a first shot by Aug. 30 and get a second shot second by Oct. 15, said marketing director Diana Forbes.

“We worked really closely with both the Ministry of Colleges and Universities as well as our local Lambton Public Health, just to make sure we’re taking every precaution,” she said.

“These students are living here. This is their entire life, living in residence. We want to concentrate on the student experience.”

Students who don’t get a second dose of an approved vaccine by Oct. 15 must move off campus, with a partial fee refund.

Exemptions will be allowed on medical or other protected grounds under the Ontario Human Rights Code, Forbes said. A documentation process is being planned.

Students with exemptions could face restrictions, she added.

“What that looks like in terms of access to activities or room occupancy, (it will) look a little bit different than for a vaccinated student,” she said.

Lambton’s Medical Officer of Health said the college is free to set its own rules, but wondered if Lambton is going far enough to limit the virus’ spread.

“If your goal is reducing operational disruption, maybe the answer is you need to have more than just the residence community immunized,” Dr. Sudit Ranade said.

Capacity as the college residence has been cut in half for a second straight year to allow students to live alone.

Forbes said there is no plan to require mandatory vaccinations for all students and staff.

“We feel that it’s not necessary at this moment.”

So far, Seneca is the only Ontario college requiring all students and employees to be vaccinated before attending this fall.

Lambton plans to host September vaccination clinics on campus in collaboration with Lambton Public Health.

“We’re encouraging everyone in our community – students, staff, but Sarnia-Lambton as well – just to do our part and get the vaccination. It’s something we feel passionately about, to encourage the safety of our community in general,” Forbes said.