The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) declared a COVID-19 outbreak in a student residence at Fanshawe College, the first post-secondary institution in the pandemic.
The outbreak, reported at the university’s Merlin House residence on Sunday, was made public in Monday’s health unit update and is linked to at least three cases, according to Fanshawe spokeswoman Elaine Gamble.
“Those students are isolated and are following the instructions they received from MLHU. As of November 24, 2021, restrictions have been put in place for Merlin House guests and Merlin House residents in an effort to protect the residential community, ”Gamble said in an email, adding that the restrictions will remain in effect until further. notice.
Coming as an ongoing COVID-19 outbreak at Western University’s Saugeen-Maitland Hall residence, the first declared at the school this academic year, sees more students affected, according to the health unit.
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The outbreak, declared Saturday, was initially linked to at least five cases, but has since risen to eight, according to Dr. Alex Summers, the region’s acting medical health officer.
“The broadcast that has been seen in the Fanshawe and Western shoots over the weekend was mainly caused by indoor social interactions, no masks, social settings,” Summers said during Monday’s press conference.
“That’s where, to a large extent, you see the transmission, whether you are a higher education student or not, so there are no surprises in the transmission patterns that we are seeing in those outbreaks.”
Summers, however, notes that the overall transmission of COVID-19 among community post-secondary students has been very low due to the “exceptionally high vaccination rate among post-secondary students in our community.”
While people who are fully immunized can still get COVID-19, known as a groundbreaking case, the health unit says those people get sick less than unvaccinated people and are much less likely to need hospitalization or die.
“(The) transmission that has been seen is really from social interactions, close settings for an extended period of time where masks are not worn, for obvious reasons.”
There has been no evidence of transmission within a classroom or conference room setting, he said.
“The combination of vaccination, masking, and a relatively short time together in those settings makes them pretty low risk of transmission overall, and that’s certainly what we’ve seen to date.”
Western says that all close contacts at the residence have been notified by the health unit and are self-isolating.
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“As a precaution, all Saugeen employees and residents, as well as students in some identified classrooms, are notified and asked to self-monitor for symptoms and visit the Western Vaccination and Testing Center on campus if they become aware of them. symptoms are associated with COVID-19 develop, regardless of vaccination status ”, the school said in an update Saturday.
Both Fanshawe College and Western University have strict COVID-19 vaccination requirements for those on campus.
At Fanshawe, anyone coming to university campuses must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have an approved medical or Ontario Human Rights Code exemption. The university has been prohibiting those who are not vaccinated or without an approved medical exemption from going to campus since November 5.
According to Fanshawe, 94 percent of students and 98 percent of employees have been fully vaccinated, with 23 students and five staff members granted exemptions.
After November 5, students who opted out of the vaccine and did not receive an exemption from the school were required to postpone their studies on campus to a later date or transition online, if available.
Staff who knowingly violate the school’s immunization policy “will be dealt with through the university’s disciplinary processes and, where appropriate, the language of the relevant collective bargaining agreement,” according to the politics.
About 60 percent of Fanshawe students continue to learn remotely this quarter, while Western University decided to bring nearly all of its students back to campus for in-person learning.
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Like Fanshawe, everyone who comes to the Western campus must be fully vaccinated, including residents. Proof of complete vaccination was required to be provided as of October 12.
Individuals can request an accommodation if they cannot get vaccinated for medical reasons or for “other reasons protected by the Ontario Human Rights Code,” according to school website.
Up to this point, just over 99 percent of Western students and staff have provided proof of complete vaccination, according to the university.
Students who failed or refused to comply with the policy would have their infraction reviewed under the Student Code of Conduct, Western’s website statuses.
“Pending an investigation and as an interim measure, the student will be prohibited from attending campus. If found to be in violation of the Student Code of Conduct, the student will be sanctioned. Sanctions may include suspension or expulsion from the University. “
Staff and faculty who did not comply with the policy have the option of resigning or withdrawing from the university. Staff also have the option of taking unpaid leave.
“(The professors) who continue to be in non-compliance will be placed on leave with pay pending investigation and, if non-compliance is confirmed, they will be placed on leave without pay,” according to the university.
“Professors on leave cannot carry out their teaching, research or service responsibilities, on or off campus.”
980 CFPL reached out to officials at Western University and the Western University Student Council for comment, but did not receive a response at press time.
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