Post-secondary schools prepare to lift masking, proof of vaccination rules

Alvaro Jimenez was at the uOttawa cafeteria with friends when he learned the university will suspend masking and proof of vaccination requirement on campus, effective May 1.

“I just looked at my phone and I got a notification from the university that May 1, everything is off,” said the third-year mechanical engineer student. “I don’t really mind having a mask but it’s going to be nice not having a mask though.”

For Jimenez, who is triple-vaccinated, wearing a mask will depend on the surroundings.

“If there’s a lot of people maybe just keep it on, but if it’s just a bunch of friends probably keep it off,” he said.

Other post-secondary institutions like Queen’s University are following suit in line with the end of winter semester, which means fewer students on campus in the warmer months.

“That doesn’t mean there won’t be transmission. There will be transmission,” said Raywat Deonandan, epidemiologist and associate professor at uOttawa.

Just this month, Carleton University reported 221 positive COVID-19 test results, nearly 200 more than in February. There are other signs COVID numbers could get higher.

“Here in Ottawa we have wastewater signal approaching the height that it was at the peak of the omicron wave,” said Deonandan. “This does not strike me as a time to be relaxing the easiest measures that we have.”

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