Rapid testing will not be an alternative after Nov. 8
As of Nov. 8, people coming to NAIT campuses are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This development represents a collaboration between nine Alberta post-secondary institutes.
In the meantime, NAIT will begin a proof-of-vaccination program after Oct. 8. Following that, students, staff, contractors and visitors coming to campus must provide proof that they have received at least a first dose of a World Health Organization-approved COVID-19 vaccine.
Alternatively, they can show proof of a negative test result (tests must be privately paid COVID-19 PCR or rapid tests completed within 72 hours). NAIT will evaluate requests from those who are unable to be vaccinated on protected grounds under the Alberta Human Rights Act.
To meet the requirement to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 8, everyone will need to receive their second dose as soon as possible, and no later than Oct. 24. Once NAIT’s vaccine mandate comes into effect on Nov. 8, rapid testing will not be considered an alternative to vaccination without an accommodation.
“Since the arrival of COVID-19 in Alberta, we have kept the health and safety of the NAIT community as our priority, and adapted our response as needed to minimize the risk,” says Laura Jo Gunter, NAIT president and CEO.
“Given the current status of the pandemic – and our ongoing commitment to the well-being of the NAIT community – this is the most prudent decision we can make at this time.”
Vaccination mandate adds to previous measures
Vaccines are the safest and most effective way to protect communities from COVID-19. NAIT considers people fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the full schedule of an approved COVID-19 vaccine. Proof of vaccination can be demonstrated by students and staff using the NAIT Alert app.
Students and staff can receive doses at any time through AHS or pharmacies. For students who did not wish to be vaccinated, NAIT extended its course withdrawal deadline after introducing the mandate in mid-September.
The vaccine mandate adds to other measures taken to keep NAIT campuses safe:
- Masks are required in all indoor spaces
- Students and staff continue to be supported if they are sick and need to isolate due to COVID-19, a legal requirement in Alberta
- Safety training is required each term for students and annually at the start of the fall term for staff
- Students, staff and visitors are required to complete a COVID-19 declaration acknowledging their responsibility to follow NAIT and provincial requirements
- Building ventilation has been improved and filtration upgraded wherever possible and practical
- Cleaning schedules have been enhanced and hand sanitizer is available across campuses
- Plans are in place for responding to a positive COVID-19 case on campus
In addition, physical distancing of two metres is mandatory on campus.
NAIT will continue to monitor the course of the pandemic and adjust safety measures on campuses as required.
Compassion and communication
“We are performing the due diligence necessary to ensure this is as smooth a process as possible,” says Gunter.
“We do not take this decision lightly. It is informed by our responsibility to support a safe environment in which learners can feel comfortable during their studies, and acquire the skills they need to pursue their chosen careers and support Alberta’s recovery.”
Part of that support also includes asking members of the NAIT community to help each other during this time and, if needed, to access resources the polytechnic is making available to them.
NAIT will continue to share news and developments as they arise, posting the latest information on its response to COVID-19 at nait.ca/covid19.