Rhodes University set to enforce mandatory Covid-19 vaccination
Rhodes University’s council this week approved a mandatory Covid-19 vaccination rule for the resumption of face-to-face university activities next year.
It will require all staff, students, service providers and visitors to produce proof that they have been vaccinated against Covid-19 to access the campus.
“Based on an analysis of the law and information drawn from the higher education sector, it was submitted that having assessed risks, Rhodes University had a responsibility to ensure that employees and students are protected and that all the necessary precautionary measures are in place,” said the statement.
The special council meeting was convened this week as the university prepares for the full return of students and staff in 2022.
The vaccination requirement also applies as a condition for registration for all students, as well as for staff working on campus, service providers and visitors, said the university.
However, the university has also made allowances for an exemption application process and for those who cannot take the vaccine on medical or other “legitimate and justifiable grounds”.
“Where such applications are successful, the university will consider steps to mitigate risk, including the requirement to produce a negative Covid-19 test result on a weekly basis. This would be at the cost of the student, staff member, visitor or service provider concerned in specific circumstances.”
The university said key considerations in coming to the decision included the importance of the resumption of face-to-face university activities and the need to mitigate safety and health risks to students, staff, service providers and members of the community of Makhanda.
“Council decided, after balancing the relevant, competing constitutional rights, that the university had a responsibility to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of all who access and come into contact with members of the university.”
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