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University of Calgary drops vaccine requirement, keeps mask mandate for Winter Term

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When University of Calgary students return to in-person learning on Feb. 28, proof of vaccination will no longer be required for staff and students at the institution.

Mandatory masking, however, will continue at the school for the rest of the winter semester, despite Alberta's mask requirement expected to be dropped on March 1.

Other Calgary post secondary institutions, such as Mount Royal University and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT), are keeping current vaccine and mask rules in place for now while reviewing the government's Feb. 8 announcement.

U of C made its announcement Thursday, a day after Alberta's advanced education minister wrote to the board chairs of the province's institutions, urging them to follow the government's phased approach to lifting measures.

"It is my expectation that all of Alberta's universities, colleges and polytechnics will align their COVID-19 policies and practices with that of Alberta's Government," wrote Demetrios Nicolaides.

"Like you, I am eager to see students returning to in-person learning without masking and proof of vaccination requirements this March," the minister wrote.

The University of Calgary says 99 per cent of its students, staff and faculty are fully vaccinated. But the students' union says it has heard from many who worry that lifting restrictions now is too early.

"The bottom line here is that students do not feel safe returning to campus without common sense health measures in place, such as masking and vaccination," said Nicole Schmidt, the Students' Union President at the U of C.

"Students are already divided on their preference to return to in-person learning versus continuing online and the only real comfort they had before with in-person learning was that there would be protective measures in place," she said.

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