LETTER: All students on campus should be vaccinated

From reader Cathy Scott-May

To health minister Adrian Dix and Dr. Bonnie Henry:

Dr. Henry has stated that “people will not be denied an education because of their immunization status.” If COVID-19 cases continue to rise, public schools, universities and/or individual students may have to return to online learning. Much of the educational experience comes from opportunities outside of regular classes. Hence, by not requiring vaccinations to participate in on-campus learning you are risking that people will be denied an education because of the immunization status of others.

The rights of smokers overruled the health concerns of the majority until governments enacted legislation that eliminated smoking from public spaces. Currently, we are seeking a public health rather than a punitive approach to addictions, but we still have rules about drinking and driving because of the risks to the greater population.

Those who choose to not be vaccinated can pursue online learning as there are institutions that provide such opportunities at the elementary, secondary, and post-secondary levels. Those who want the on-campus experience need to be a contributing member of that school community by becoming fully vaccinated and, at least for the time being, wear a mask while indoors. This would allow institutions to safely offer reasonable alternatives for the small percentage of the school community who have recognized health reasons for not being vaccinated.

Our youth require effective leadership to enable them to realize the educational experience that they deserve. University students will be incurring considerable expenses in relocating to live away from home while attending school, many doing so on student loans. These students need to be confident that on-campus learning will be offered throughout their academic year. Please act immediately to require all students and staff be fully vaccinated to be on campus.

Cathy Scott-May