Griffith University has become the first major higher education institution to announce a vaccination mandate.
The news was confirmed to students in an email from the Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Carolyn Evans, on Wednesday.
“Yesterday, the University Council approved a Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Policy,” Professor Evans said in the email.
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“This policy means students will need to have received two doses of a Therapeutic Goods Administration-recognised vaccination by 18 February 2022 or agree to undergo regular rapid antigen testing in order to come to campus from Orientation Week of Trimester 1, 2022 (7–11 March).
“The policy allows for medical exemptions for vaccinations and does not extend to students who are studying online.”
It means that students who do not meet the requirements may not be able to finish their degrees.
“Students who do not provide evidence of their vaccination or an agreement to undertake regular testing will not be allowed to attend the campus or any other Griffith sites (including work placements and field work),” Professor Evans states.
“In some cases, students will be able to transfer to a fully online program or defer their studies but in other cases, it is possible that students will not be able to continue with their degree.
“We would prefer not to see this happen and encourage those who are not vaccinated to consider receiving their first dose before Christmas.”
The University said it consulted with students, staff, student representative body leaders and unions before making the decision.
It is also working with other Queensland universities on the introduction of a public health order to mandate vaccinations at other institutions across the state.
“If the Government introduces a vaccine mandate similar to those imposed in other sectors, it is unlikely there will be an option for unvaccinated students to undertake rapid testing to allow them to come on to campus,” Professor Evans said.
“If the Government does not implement a public health order to mandate vaccinations at universities, we will proceed with our approach as planned.”