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TRU will ask students, staff to self-disclose vaccination status, require testing for unvaccinated

Questions remain over how the university will carry out the new measures, which are in addition to provincial guidelines requiring masks indoors and proof-of-vaccination for athletics and student housing
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Thompson Rivers University has made further changes to its return-to-campus plan with just under two weeks left to go until students return to classrooms.

Students, faculty and staff will now be required to self-disclose their vaccination status, and those who aren't vaccinated or refuse to disclose their status will need to undergo regular rapid testing.

Further details of how that status will be disclosed, and how often testing will be required have not yet been released.

Kamloops This Week reached out to the university for comment, but no one was available until Sept. 2 at the earliest.

In a letter to the university community, TRU president Brett Fairbairn said the measures are being taken "to further support the safety of our university community and a successful return to campus."

Pressure had been building on TRU to implement mandatory vaccinations for those returning to campus, but the university stopped short of that measure. Universities in other provinces have made vaccination against COVID-19 a requirement for attending classes.

Instead, TRU has put itself in league with other members of the Research Universities' Council of British Columbia, including the University of British Columbia, University of Victoria, Simon Fraser University, University of Northern B.C., and Royal Roads University.

Proof-of-vaccination will be required for some, including those using campus housing or in athletics programs. Additionally, proof-of-vaccination will be required to access door-entry restaurants on campus and events.

In conjunction with recent measures from the provincial government, masks will also be required indoors.

Fairbairn also said in his letter the university will undertake enhanced cleaning measures and use barriers in high-traffic areas.

But questions remain over how often students, faculty and staff will need to be tested, if not vaccinated, and what will prevent people from falsely disclosing their vaccination status to avoid the required rapid testing.

It's also not known how on-campus resident international students will comply with the program, with some not able to access the vaccine prior to arriving in Canada.

Fairbairn said a vaccination clinic is available on campus and that "... our expectation is that our students, faculty and staff, as able, will be vaccinated this fall."